Celebrating 50 years of the Riverway St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

Celebrating 50 Years on the River

A lot can happen in fifty years, and things are only getting better for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. We want to continue the fun by preserving this national park and continuing to welcome the thousands of people who enjoy it every year. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Riverway, comprised of over 200 miles of the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers. Help us celebrate this momentous occasion! St. Croix River Association (SCRA), National Park Service (NPS), and other partners are planning some big festivities to commemorate the golden anniversary of this national treasure.

It all started on October 2, 1968, when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act into law, designating the St. Croix River and its tributary the Namekagon as one of the original eight rivers protected under the Act. The Wild & Scenic Rivers Act was created to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values for future generations. Learn more about the Riverway and its history on the National Park Service website.


October 2, 1968: Minnesota Senator Walter F. Mondale shakes hands with President Lyndon Johnson at the signing of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.

The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is the First Wild and Scenic River to be named a national park.

Photo credit: Minnesota Historical Society


The St. Croix and Namekagon’s Wild and Scenic status puts us in the top echelon of America’s rivers. Less than one quarter of one percent – 12,734 miles – of the approximately 3.6 million miles of streams in the United States have received this level of protection.

The St. Croix River watershed covers 7,800 square miles in Minnesota and Wisconsin - roughly the size of New Jersey!


According to an annual National Park Service report, in 2016, over 708,000 visitors spent more than $30 million in our St. Croix Riverway communities and supported 473 local jobs.

Source: NPS


The Riverway is a premier destination thanks to its clean water, natural landscapes, breathtaking beauty, and abundant recreational opportunities - all in close proximity to a major metropolitan area.

Photo credit: NPS

Commemorating the Anniversary

We have some big plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary including but not limited to:

A documentary by noted filmmakers John Kaul and Tom Reiter in partnership with St. Croix River Association is set to debut on TPT (Twin Cities PBS) and WPT (Wisconsin Public Television) in June 2018. Saving the St. Croix Riverway is a tribute to the St. Croix River and the people who preserved it for future generations. The documentary currently in production features former Vice President Walter Mondale and others who can attribute to the history of the river.

A book from acclaimed photographer Craig Blacklock. The book, entitled The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway: The Enduring Gift, includes a foreword by Vice President Walter F. Mondale. Mondale and Senator Gaylord Nelson were instrumental in passing the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and protecting the St. Croix and Namekagon. For book reservations, please visit: https://stcroixphotography.com/

An exhibition in partnership with The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, WI. The month-long exhibit, which opens on September 14, 2018 will feature a national juried show and works by Blacklock and Northern Clay Center alumni. Artists nationwide are encouraged to submit work for “Heart of the River” that expresses the significance of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in their lives. For more information on the Call for Artists, please visit: http://bit.ly/2jgSRPa

Other special activities include a research report, numerous pedal-paddle-hike adventures, speaking engagements, and an anniversary celebration on October 2, 2018, fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark legislation.

Signature Events

Thursday, April 19 - The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway: The Enduring Gift Blacklock Opening Reception, Mill City Museum, Minneapolis, MN

Friday, May 11 - Changing the Face of Conservation Leaders featuring Rue Mapp, Founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

Wednesday, June 6 - The Wild and Scenic St. Croix Film Premiere, Fitzgerald Theatre, St. Paul, MN

Saturday, June 9 - Friday, June 15 - 2018 Paddle Namekagon, Hayward, WI

Saturday, August 25 - Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Trollhaugen, Dresser, WI

Sunday, September 9 - Annual Fundraiser - Celebrate the River, Horst Rechelbacher Farm, Osceola, WI

Friday, September 14 - Monday, October 22 - Heart of the River Opening Night, The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI

Tuesday, October 2 - Official Anniversary Celebration Event, The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI

Please check back as more events and activities are updated.

Don’t forget to follow and like us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all the 50th anniversary celebrations!

In the News

Contact Us

If you have questions about the 50th anniversary or have ideas on how you’d like to help commemorate the occasion, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you!

Please visit our website: www.stcroixriverassociation.org

info@scramail.com | 715-483-3300 | PO Box 655, St. Croix Falls, WI 54024

Experience it. Protect it. Forever.

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