Veterans Paddle River
Contact: Julie Galonska, 715-483-2270
ST. CROIX FALLS, Wisconsin: Sometimes, a paddle down the river is more than just a paddle down the river.
For one group of Wisconsin female military veterans and veteran advocates, a canoeing excursion on the Namekagon River was a chance to share stories, build friendships, and get to know one of America's national parks.
Coined "America's Finest Women Paddle America's Finest River," the May 9th event featured a 10-mile paddle from Whispering Pines to McDowell Bridge on the Namkeagon River, part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. It was organized by the National Park Service and the Wisconsin County Veteran Service Offices. Canoes on Wheels provided canoes free of charge.
Twelve women from throughout the state of Wisconsin attended. All of these women work as advocates for local veterans, and eight of these women are veterans themselves. National Park Rangers also participated in the paddle.
Branda Thwaits, the Riverway's Upper District Interpretive Ranger, commented that "Days like this remind me of the power of the river to bring people together. I was also struck by the commitment of these ladies, not only during their time in the military, but their continued commitment to their fellow veterans. This truly was a day where America's finest paddled America's finest."
This trip was made possible through the hard work and support of Doug Stubbe, Lisa McNeally, and Dawn Anderson from the Burnett, Washburn, and Barron County Veteran Service Offices.
The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is currently in the planning stages of more veteran focused paddles and events.Stay tuned to www.nps.gov/sacn for updates, and contact Branda Thwaits at 715-635-8346 if you're interested in participating in or helping with future veterans activities.
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.