A trip to the river is a must for many Wisconsinites during the summer. Planning ahead is necessary to keep trips to the St. Croix River safe and fun.
Here’s what to keep in mind, according to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and National Park Service rangers:
Have a Plan
Start a visit to the St. Croix River at home by exploring the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway website – www.nps.gov/sacn, the organization suggests.
Get ideas about where to go, what to see, what to do, and most important, what to include in planning. Flexibility and a backup plan are key, too, in case of changing weather conditions, road closures, or other unexpected situations.
River conditions are updated at least weekly on the website, according to a news release. Currently, many sections of the riverway have low water levels. Plan ahead to know what to expect and make the best choices for an enjoyable experience. No one wants to be dragging a canoe or kayak for any length of time. Nor do boaters want to run aground or hit debris that is usually underwater. Low water can also make it very challenging to launch watercraft. Vehicles should not attempt to back into rocky or muddy areas off the end of paved ramps.
The riverway website also has maps, river descriptions, mileage charts and recommendations from rangers, as well as information on businesses that provide equipment rentals, shuttles, guided trips, and scenic tours.
Ask a ranger
Have a question? Ask a park ranger. They’re always there to help and can provide information about what activities are available. Call or stop by one of the visitor centers.
St. Croix River Visitor Center, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
401 North Hamilton, St. Croix Falls, WI 715-483-2274
A great visit to the riverway includes safety every step of the way.
Wear a life jacket. It may feel strange to wear a life jacket with low river levels or on a hot summer day but remember a river still has a current and an uneven streambed. Deep holes and debris may not be visible from the surface and can surprise even experienced river users.
Know paddling ability. Low water has different challenges than when rivers are running high.
Hydrate and have protection from the sun.
Jumping or diving from bridges, cliffs or trees is always prohibited.
Leave only footprints
Each of us plays a vital role in protecting the national parks. Whether it’s carrying out what was brought in, leaving the spots as they were found, or staying on the trail, be careful to respect these incredible places. Thanks for doing your part!