Preserving Community Character: Integrating
Nature, Commerce, and Development in the St.Croix River
The Preserving Community Character
Workshop convened conservation and planning stakeholders
to develop a common vision balancing commerce, development
and natural resource conservation for the 252-mile St.
Croix River Valley, which bridges Minnesota and Wisconsin.
While the corridor is natural in character, its 7,700
square mile watershed contains rural and urban areas,
26 counties, and more than 40 cities and villages, including
the Minneapolis and St. Paul/Twin Cities metropolitan
area less than 15 miles from the river. The watershed
also includes over 1,500 tributaries and a diversity
of wildlife and plant species, at least six of which
are threatened or endangered.
In the river valley corridor there
is a constant struggle between protecting the valuable
natural amenities the St.Croix offers and managing the
tremendous development pressure. These tensions between
competing demands on the river valley corridor is evident
in skyrocketing land values, conflicts between motorized
and non-motorized recreational uses, and community planning
In preparation for the February workshop,
the project partners conducted a series of local workshops
at strategic locations, from which citizen focus teams
were formed. These teams then participated in the vision
workshop, which included over 200 participants.
Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance
staff member Randy Thoreson participated in and helped
organize this larger scale effort, but staff is also
working more locally on several related projects in
Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Representatives from each of these projects participated
in the workshop, developing specific action plans that
will direct their future activities in a manner that
is consistent with the regional vision for the corridor.
For more information, contact Randy Thoreson at (651)
See a video example of our project work about several trail projects in Minnesota.
Vice President Walter Mondale addresses the workshop.
National Park Service Rivers & Trails, St.Croix
Scenic Coalition, University of Wisconsin, Watchable
Wildlife Inc. and The Conservation Fund, developed
a partnership to facilitate greater understanding
of community development and natural resource conservation
issues for the St. Croix River corridor and adjoining
For more information,
please contact Randy Thoreson, RTCA St. Paul,
MN office at (651) 290-3004.