• Canoeists paddle by tree lined shores

    Saint Croix

    National Scenic Riverway WI,MN

New Camping Regulations Highway 8 to Log House Landing

Why are new camping regulations being implemented?

The National Park Service (NPS) is charged with protecting the resources of the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway while providing opportunities for visitors to enjoy the park. Minimally regulated camping along the lower St. Croix River (from St. Croix Falls, WI – Taylors Falls, MN to Stillwater, MN) has raised concerns about human waste, shoreline and island erosion, and its effects on Riverway visitors and residents.

The NPS hopes that by providing designated campsites with occupancy and stay limits, requiring portable camp toilets, and issuing camp passes the following results will be achieved.

  • The use of portable camp toilets will protect human health and water quality. In some portions of the Riverway, it is acceptable to bury human waste at least 6 inches deep, 100 feet or more from water, so that it will not enter that water source. However, use on the lower St. Croix occurs primarily on islands and shorelines where it is not possible to get 100 feet or more from the water and sites are periodically flooded.
  • Designated campsites and stay limits will help to make the sites available to more people, allow campsites to rest and restore when nobody is using them, and alleviate confusion over where to camp.
  • Campers will know, understand, and abide by regulations that are designed to protect the Riverway.
  • With designated campsites, natural and cultural resources will be protected and camping will be able to peacefully coexist with private landownership.

What are the regulations?

The following regulations are in effect on the St. Croix River between U.S. Highway 8 at St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin - Taylors Falls, Minnesota (river mile 52.5) and Log House Landing (river mile 39.0) near Copas:

  • Campers are required to have a camp pass
  • Campers must camp in designated campsites.
  • In addition to the existing campground of 7 sites at Eagle’s Nest Campground, 10 primitive and 2 primitive group campsites have been established. Up to 8 people will be allowed at individual campsites. Group sites will accommodate 9 to 16 people. Larger groups will need to split up or make arrangements to camp in one of the state parks.
  • There is a 3-night limit of stay. There is a 30-night limit for the season.
  • Campsites must be occupied on the first night of stay.
  • The camp pass must be attached to the tent so it is clearly visible. The pass must be displayed every time you camp in 2008.
  • Alcohol is prohibited at Eagle’s Nest Campground (river mile 48.5) located downriver from Franconia Landing.
  • Quiet hours are from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
  • Campfires are permitted only in steel fire rings or grills.
  • The cutting of live vegetation is strictly prohibited. Dead and down wood may be collected from shoreline areas, however, it cannot be collected from islands.
  • Possession of firewood that originates more than 50 miles from the Riverway is prohibited.
  • Campfires must be out and cold before you leave the area.
  • Campers are required to bring in their own portable camp toilets or use on-board facilities on self-contained boats.
  • Glass containers are prohibited on land and waters within the Riverway.
  • All trash must be carried out of the Riverway at the end of your stay.

Why aren’t the regulations in effect south of Log House Landing?
The changes are being phased in from upstream to downstream. The NPS plans to construct additional sites south of Log House Landing in 2008 and hopes to have the new regulations in place there by 2009.

Recreational use south of the High Bridge is quite different than that to the north. In addition to camping, there is more day use of the islands and shorelines and there are larger, faster boats. In response to public comments, the NPS will conduct additional planning and public involvement to address issues regarding use on this stretch of river. In addition to camping, the process for the 5-mile stretch from the High Bridge south to Stillwater will address day use, boat speeds, and island and shoreline restoration.

 

How do I get a camp pass?
Beginning on April 1, 2008, stop by the St. Croix River Visitor Center, 401 North Hamilton Street, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, to complete a camp pass application. The visitor center is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 4:30. Beginning on April 19, the visitor center will be open 7 days per week, 8:00 to 4:30.

A park ranger will review the new regulations with you. Your signature confirms that you understand and will comply with the new regulations.

The camp pass application must be completed in person at the visitor center. Phone and email requests cannot be accommodated. Additional opportunities for getting the pass outside of business hours or at different locations will be announced here and in local news outlets.

What is the cost for a camp pass?
The pass is free.

Does every person in my group need a camp pass?
No. One pass is required for each group staying at a campsite.

Where do I display the pass at my campsite?
Attach the pass to your tent so it is clearly visible. The pass must be displayed every time you camp in 2008.

If I lose my pass, how do I get a replacement?
Contact the St. Croix River Visitor Center at (715) 483-2274 for a replacement.

Will a portable camp toilet fit in my canoe or kayak? How much does it cost and where can I purchase one?
There are many different styles of portable camp toilets, including ones that will fit in a canoe or kayak. Portable camp toilets are available for purchase at most outdoor recreation equipment stores. Prices begin around $20.

Where are the campsites located and how do I find them when I am on the river?
In addition to the existing campground of 7 sites at Eagle’s Nest, the National Park Service has established 10 primitive and 2 primitive group campsites on this stretch of river. Campsite locations are indicated on the “St. Croix River Map 7: Highway 8 to Marine on St. Croix.” The map can be viewed at: http://www.nps.gov/sacn/planyourvisit/upload/St._Croix_Map_7.pdf Copies are also available at the St. Croix River Visitor Center, at some landings, and at authorized businesses renting equipment to paddle or float on the St. Croix.

Brown signs with a white campsite symbol and the campsite’s river mile indicate the locations of the new campsites on the river. Metal fire rings are provided. Dead and down wood may be collected for campfires except from islands. Possession of firewood that originates more than 50 miles from the Riverway is prohibited.

Do I need a reservation to camp?
No. Campsites are first-come, first serve.

I have a group of more than 16 people. Where can I camp?
The 7 clustered sites established at Eagle’s Nest (a NPS boat-in campground south of Franconia Landing) will also accommodate larger groups – up to a total of 56 people (8 per site). Eagle’s Nest is first come, first serve. Alcohol is not permitted at Eagle’s Nest Campground. If not camping at Eagle’s Nest, groups that exceed 16 people will need to split up or make reservations to camp at a group site in one of the state parks. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/reservations.html or http://wisconsinstateparks.reserveamerica.com/campgroundDetails.do?subTabIndex=0&contractCode=wi&parkCode=inte

Do I need a camp pass if I want to camp on the St. Croix north of St. Croix Falls – Taylors Falls or on the Namekagon?
No, a pass is not required and you can camp in designated primitive campsites along the Namekagon River and along the St. Croix River from Gordon Dam to St. Croix Falls. For information on camping at these sites: http://www.nps.gov/sacn/planyourvisit/camping.htm

A one page summary of the new rules. (PDF 192 KB)

If you have questions please call 715-483-2274 or e-mail.

Did You Know?

A very narrow insect with skinny legs and a tail

Water scorpions use their tails or siphons as a a "snorkel" thrusting it up through the surface film on the water to the air above. Their legs are not much use in swimming, so most water scorpions spend life near the shoreline.