Those who know me know that I am from the New Ulm area. This is a beautiful town in a valley formed by the Minnesota River. I spent many hours fishing, hiking canoeing and camping on the Minnesota River and it’s tributaries. We all knew as youngsters just how polluted and abused the river was, and in some cases still is.
Two years ago, Stone Harbor was a major sponsor when Natalie Warren and Ann Raiho made their historic canoe trip from Fort Snelling to Hudson Bay. The early part of that trip was on the Minnesota River. Natalie and Ann saw that the river is beginning to get cleaned up but it has a long way to go.
Natalie has returned to the river with her Wild River Academy. With this program, she is introducing young people to canoeing, camping and to the cause of making the river an attraction for bicyclists, hikers, canoeists and campers. Most importantly, Wild River Academy is making more people aware of this river, with dreams of returning it to a pristine state. For those of us from the Minnesota River Valley, it is way overdue.
Wild River Academy has partnered with River’s Edge Academy, an Outward Bound high school in St. Paul. They are taking 16 of their students on a seven-day canoe expedition down the Minnesota River, stopping along the route to interact with environmental organizations, community members, Dakota people, farmers and State Park Rangers. The program is being provided free of cost so that students from all financial backgrounds can participate in this invaluable outdoor experience. The trip is being paid entirely through fundraising efforts. If you would like to make a donation for this Wild River Academy trip, go to http://givemn.razoo.com/story/River-S-Edge-Academy-River-Trip.