A Watery Connection Between Different Parks
August 07, 2013
Summers are far too short....
Even as someone who loves the Riverway, I have to admit that there are many other special places in our country to explore. I recently took some time away in Glacier National Park in Montana and like many of us my thoughts of this mountainous park are dominated by hiking trails, just as my thoughts of the St. Croix and Namekagon focus on movement over water. But thinking like this can limit what a visitor to either park could experience.
Glacier has numerous navigable lakes and floatable rivers: my canoe accompanied me on my trip out west, and I was fortunate to paddle the waters of many of its lakes on both the east and west side of the Continental Divide. For those looking for something beyond lake paddling, the Flathead River offers a challenge to experienced kayak and canoeing enthusiasts.
Similarly, the fact that you also do not need a boat, canoe, or kayak to explore the Riverway is often overlooked. Numerous hiking opportunities are available within the Riverway boundaries, and these vary in difficulty from steep climbs of glacial bluffs to leisurely walks along the river. Serious hikers don’t have to travel to Glacier to have a backpacking experience- there are trails in the parks and forests along the Riverway that allow for multiday backpacking hikes as well, many with views of this protected waterway. And don’t forget about these areas in fall and winter- hiking gives way to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing as the leaves fall and snow flies!
Information about hiking the St. Croix Riverway can be found at http://www.nps.gov/sacn/planyourvisit/go-for-a-hike.htm, as well as on the websites of the many state parks and forest adjacent to the park.
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Did You Know?
St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is home to 40 species of native mussels. Throughout the United States their populations are considered highly threatened. The Higgins Eye Pearly mussel is on the endangered species list.