Friday, May 26, 2017

Adventure Stewardship Alliance: Three Rivers Expedition

Water & Watersheds
Guest Blogger: Paul Twedt

Photo credit: Grant Armour

Since 2015, local Minnesotan Paul Twedt has helped to found groups that adventure ethically. As co-founder of Packing It Out, a national group focused on removing litter from America's hiking trails, the group has packed out over 1,800 lbs of trash while thru-hiking over 5,000 miles, including the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail corridors.

For 2017, Paul decided it was time to bring these stewardship efforts to his home state of Minnesota and to the local rivers. With help from another river-loving Minnesotan, Michael Anderson, they have developed the Adventure Stewardship Alliance. The mission of this Minnesota-based alliance is to inspire stewardship of wild places, cultural connections, and a sense of place through storytelling and stewardship-based adventures. They accomplish this mission by packing out litter from wild places and community-building through experiences with nature, natural history, and telling the stories of the rivers they are paddling.

Their Three Rivers Expedition will be the pilot trip for Adventure Stewardship Alliance and will be a 1,200 mile canoe trip spanning the length of the Namekagon/St. Croix river system, the Minnesota river, and 620+ miles of the upper Mississippi river. "Basically just the Minnesota section of that great river," says ASA founder Paul Twedt. Along the way they will be cleaning up litter and sharing naturalist teachings, nature observations, and river stories on the ASA social media channels and website (find those through the ASA website). Their website also includes a trip progress page where they are documenting and sharing the amount of litter removed and unique and notable observations.

Launching June 13th, the Three Rivers Expedition will begin at Namekagon Lake, the source of the Namekagon river, paddling 235 miles to the St. Croix confluence and on down the river to its Mississippi river confluence near Hastings, MN. Upon finishing the St. Croix, the crew will shuttle to Big Stone Lake, the source of the Minnesota river, and paddle 330 miles to the Mississippi river confluence at Pike Island in Fort Snelling State Park. Come September, the team will embark upon the Mississippi river, beginning at Lake Itasca and paddling through Winona, MN. This litter-cleansing crew will also be hosting an event as they paddle through the Twin Cities on October 14th, so be on the lookout for more info in the coming months as they get details planned out.

In line with their community-building goals the ASA team has developed local partnerships with groups addressing issues in our Twin Cities community. The canoes for the trip, dubbed "vessels of light" by ASA founder Michael Anderson, are built by local youth brought together through Urban Boat Builders in St. Paul to develop job skills and become engaged steward-citizens. Food for the journey is supplemented by Sisters Camelot, a local organization aiming to improve access to organic foods and reducing food waste in the local grocery supply system.

Follow along with this journey of stewardship, community-building and intentional living by signing up for email updates at Adventure Stewardship Alliance and connect with them on social media to get the day to day experiences from the rivers while you are at it.

Cheers and hopefully we'll see you on the river!

Stay tuned for updates from the crew on this blog, Sustainable Commons, from each leg of the Three Rivers Expedition.

Paul Twedt
Founder of Adventure Stewardship Alliance and Co-founder of Packing It Out

Paul Twedt
Photo credit: Grant Armour
Michael Anderson
Photo credit: Grant Armour

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