Monday, July 17, 2017

Three Rivers Expedition Update from Adventure Stewardship Alliance

Adventure Stewardship Alliance: Three Rivers Expedition
Guest Blogger: Paul Twedt

Photo credit: Michael Anderson

736 pounds of trash. 237 miles paddled. Heavy spring rains.

The first leg of the Three Rivers Expedition cleanup by Adventure Stewardship Alliance along the length of the Namekagon and St. Croix Riverway in June, 2017 was an extreme success!

The team of two Minnesota-based canoe paddlers found the St. Croix Riverway to be much more heavily impacted than they expected and they rose to the challenge. They removed a total of 736 pounds of litter from the river in their two canoes built by Urban Boat Builders in St. Paul, MN. This litter consisted of various items ranging from plastic barrels to cigarette butts, plastic/glass bottles to broken farm implements, and boat hulls to tow-behind inner-tubes. All left to rot in the backwaters and eddies along the river.

Collecting littered cans from the river.
Photo credit: Michael Anderson

Along this journey to leave this beautiful river better than they found it, Michael Anderson and Paul Twedt of Adventure Stewardship Alliance found themselves astonished by the natural beauty. Characterized by flighty ospreys, clear waters, and coniferous forests, this waterway was perfect for developing a deeper sense of place and connection to the local environment. “Developing a greater stewardship ethic requires a person to connect with nature and develop a sense of place and a reason to care,” says Twedt. “With that greater connection to the place, we can influence our greater community to care as well.”

While the team had great weather overall, they also experienced rain. June can be a wet month in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and along the St. Croix this crew definitely felt the rain. It came down for days at a time and helped them to realize the lessons in hardiness that nature was offering. Being hardy requires a person to make a decision that despite the current conditions, they are moving forward with positivity and determination. Not shrinking from the task or hiding from the weather, this crew paddled onward.

This paddling clean-up crew now knows that this lesson in hardiness was one destined to help them as they tackled the second river of their Three Rivers Expedition, the Minnesota River. Currently on the Minnesota, the team has found exponentially more trash and also a much deeper connection to the local communities. Check back for updates from the Minnesota River and later this fall from the Mississippi River.

Paddling through Taylor's Falls on the Saint Croix.
Photo credit: Grant Armour

Adventure Stewardship Alliance is an organization built around inspiring environmental and cultural stewardship through cleaning up litter and discovering a sense of place. Currently they are endeavoring on a Three Rivers Expedition and Cleanup in which they have paddled the Namekagon/St. Croix Riverway, are currently paddling the Minnesota River, and will finish by paddling the 600 mile-Minnesota portion of the upper Mississippi River. This expedition is a river cleanup and canoe journey of over 1,200 miles in the summer of 2017.

If you would like to follow the crew closer and get regular updates via blogs, trip progress, or social media, then check out their website and blog at Social media sites are accessible from their webpage. The crew tries to post a blog update once per week (when they have an internet connection) and shares naturalist notes on plant and animal species they encounter on their social media sites.

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