The St. Croix and Namekagon rivers together form the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a 200 mile stretch of clean water that glides and rushes towards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico beyond. The St. Croix River was one of the original eight rivers to be protected under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, and the historic significance of the river can be traced back to geologic forces 1.1 billion years ago, with a mid-continent rift and lava flows creating dramatic cliffs and sandstone bluffs that paddlers and climbers are still appreciating today. The St. Croix River Valley has seen the “brown gold” rush of beaver pelts during the fur trade, the boom of logging as the white pine forests of the north floated downstream to build cities like St. Louis and the Twin Cities, and the very proposal of Minnesota statehood along the river’s forested banks.
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