The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, which includes the entire Namekagon river, is protected and administered by the National Park Service (NPS). When congress establishes NPS areas through legislation, the enabling legislation for each area effectively spells out what types of uses are permitted. While the original legislation for the Riverway did expressly allow for "hunting and fishing," it did not specifically identify trapping as a recognized or mandated use.
Is Riverway trapping banned? Yes and no.
Trapping is allowed on some of the land areas and rivers within the boundaries of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. There is a mix of private property, NPS land and other public land within the Riverway. Make sure you follow appropriate state regulations, and determine land ownership to assure you set traps in legal areas. Minnesota and Wisconsin have different laws-particularly with regard to use of water sets in the rivers. Below is a summary of each state's regulations for trapping on land and in water.
Trapping is not allowed on:
-Land owned by NPS.
-Privately-owned land (unless permission is granted by the landowner).
Trapping, carried out in accordance with state law, is allowed on:
-Public land along the St. Croix River that is not owned by the NPS.
-The area of riverbed between the shoreline's mean high water mark and the center of the channel. (In Minnesota, the state owns the St. Croix riverbed so water sets are allowed even on sections of the river adjacent to NPS property or private-owned land).
Trapping is not allowed on:
-NPS-owned land or adjacent river areas (In Wisconsin, the riverfront landowner maintains rights to water use to the centerline of the channel).
-Privately-owned land or adjacent river area (unless permission is granted by the landowner).
Trapping carried out in accordance with state law, is allowed on:
-Public land along the Namekagon River or the Wisconsin portion of the St. Croix River that is not owned by the NPS.
-River area adjacent to public land that is not owned by the NPS, the area of the riverbed to the center of the channel.
-River area adjacent to private land, with landowner permission, the area of the riverbed to the center of the channel.
There are instances involving risks to life or property where the National Park Service can and does authorize trapping of beaver. The trapping is done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Chippewa Treaty Rights
The National Park Service honors the Chippewa Indian's off-reservation treaty rights including hunting, fishing, and gathering according to tribal regulations.
How do I get assistance?
The key to legal trapping within the Riverway boundaries is to know who owns the property. Relying on county plat books or other maps may lead to wrong conclusions. If you intend to set a trapline, it is recommended that you visit the closest Riverway office to review maps and meet with staff. Call ahead to ensure that staff is available.
Namekagon District Office
Highway 63, Trego, WI
Marshland District Office
15975 State Highway 70, Pine City, MN
Riverway Headquarters & Lower District
401 Hamilton Street, St. Croix Falls, WI
A brochure on trapping you can print.