• Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

    Mississippi

    National River & Recreation Area Minnesota

Suggested Stories and Storylines


Commerce on the River

Ethanol and the Mississippi River
Touted as an alternative to foreign oil, ethanol production has driven up corn prices in the Midwest, but it is eating up vast amounts of water. Ethanol can't replace oil entirely, but increased corn production right now is changing the face of shipping on the river and may soon change the flow of the river itself. Contact: John Anfinson (Chief of Resource Management) 651-293-8432.

Commerce at the Head of Navigation
The Twin Cities are the head of navigation on the Mississippi River. Commodities shipped from here can travel to the Gulf of Mexico and the world. As gas prices soar and ethanol plants proliferate, more corn is staying at home. How has the Mississippi River been important to the Midwest's economy in the past and how might its role be changing?
Contact: John Anfinson (Chief of Resource Management) 651-293-8432.
More information: "Running Aground" by Fran Howard

Wildlife and Management
Bald Eagles: Making a Comeback
Once threatened with extinction, bald eagles, the U.S. national bird, are flourishing in the heart of the Twin Cities area. There were 22 active bald eagle nests along the Mississippi River through the heart of the Twin Cities in 2008, up from 14 just two years ago. Young eagles have high levels of contaminants in their blood, but despite continuing threats, the nation's symbol is staging a huge comeback both in the Twin Cities area and throughout its range.
Full story with photos and video...
Contact: John Anfinson (Chief of Resource Management) 651-293-8432.
Native Mussels: Signs of a Healthier River
Native mussels are a biological measure of water quality and high water quality contributes to Twin Cities residents' quality of life. Founded on the Mississippi River, the Twin Cities first used the river for transportation and power. Unfortunately, those communities turned their collective backs to the river and it became a place to dump sewage and industrial refuse. Once a foul-smelling source of disease, the river today is much cleaner, and the mussels are returning. And many communities along the river now use the river for drinking water and recreation. Once nearly driven to extinction by pollution, the river's mussels are returning in the heart of the Twin Cities, where water quality has improved and exotic species are being kept at bay. The river, however, still faces challenges.
Contact: John Anfinson (Chief of Resource Management) 651-293-8432.
Zebra Mussels: Invasive Species Threaten Our Quality of Life
A small freshwater mussel from Asia has invaded the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, threatening native mussels and fouling beaches with sharp, toe-slicing shells. These prolific, invasive mussels pose grave threats to recreation, biological, and industrial resources.
Contact: John Anfinson (Chief of Resource Management) 651-293-8432.

Culture and History
Dakota Center of the Earth
To the Mdewakanton Dakota, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, in the heart of the Twin Cities, has deep historic and spiritual meaning. It is the site of creation and tragic losses.
Contacts: John Anfinson (Park Historian) 651-293-8432.
More information:
Prairie Island Indian Community
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
Lower Sioux Indian Community
Upper Sioux Community
St. Paul Municipal Elevator and Sackhouse
St. Paul began its life as a port city. Located at what was once the Upper Landing, these are the only remaining structures on the City's riverfront dating back to its early navigation history. They are listed on the National Register as nationally significant for their role in the farm cooperative movement in America and the origins of the current Mississippi River navigation system.
Full story...
Contact: John Anfinson (Chief of Resource Management) 651-293-8432.

Park Education Programing
The Junior Ranger Program Connects Youth to Their Heritage
One of the many quality programs offered by the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, the Junior Ranger Program provides children and their parents an opportunity to explore both the natural and human history of their community and their relationship to the Mississippi River.
Full story and photographs...
Contact:
Lyndon Torstenson (NPS Ranger and Manager of Educational Partnerships) 651-293-8426.
More information: The Junior Ranger Program
Big River Journey
Big River Journey is an award-winning educational program of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. An excursion boat is turned into a floating classroom for a day as students learn about geology, birds, floodplain forests, trash sources, and life in the river.
Full story and photographs...
Contacts: Lyndon Torstenson (NPS Ranger and Manager of Educational Partnerships) 651-293-8426.

Journey to the Falls
This Mississippi National River and Recreation Area program teaches students about the significance that St. Anthony Falls has had our lives. Students get first hand, experiential learning in this innovative program.
Full story and photographs...
Contacts: Lyndon Torstenson (NPS Ranger and Manager of Educational Partnerships) 651-293-8426.

Volunteers Grow the Seed Starters Program
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area's Seed Starter Program is an innovative partnership involving community volunteers, park departments, and businesses in improving natural spaces.
Full story and photographs...
Contact: Kathy Swenson (National Park Ranger) 651-293-8424.

Did You Know?

Lock and Dam Number 1 from a long distance.

At Lake Itasca, the elevation of the Mississippi River is 1,475 feet above sea level. It drops to sea level at the Gulf of Mexico. More than half of that drop occurs within the state of Minnesota.