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St Croix Canoeing 2016

posted Apr 19, 2016, 11:15 AM by David Martin   [ updated Apr 20, 2016, 4:41 PM by Michael Hartford ]
Key Facts:
  • Departed Minnehaha United Methodist on Friday, April 15, at about 6:30 PM.
  • Returned to MUMC on Sunday, April 17, around 11:00 AM.
  • Camped at Wild River State Park - two sites at Group Area Basic A.
  • For canoes and shuttling on Saturday, we used Wild River Outfitters (  We booked 8 canoes, met at the outfitter at about 8:30 AM. It's a 45 minute drive from the park to the outfitter.
  • The roster included 12 scouts (in 3 patrols) and 4 adult leaders (3 of them driving).
  • The estimated cost per scout was $12 for grub, $8 for the group site reservation, and $16 for canoe rental.

  • Make reservation  -  Hartford
  • Make arrangements with outfitter - Hartford
  • File Tour Plan  -  Martin  
  • Communicate to scouts  -  Hartford 
  • Communicate specifics to participants - Hartford
  • Cross-check adult training across planned activities  -  Martin 
  • Cross-check roster against vehicle/seat count  -  Martin  
  • Review health records - Martin, Hartford 
  • Write up "notes for next time" after the event  - Hartford  

Notes for Next Time:
  • Verify training for adult leaders farther in advance. (Doing this 2 weeks in advance did not allow for filling in any gaps.)
  • Set a goal to have at least two adult leaders with current CPR/AED and Wilderness and Remote First Aid certification at for high adventure and other trips
  • Establish firmer "buddy boat" guidelines: toward the end of the trip we got strung out pretty far along the river, and some boats were out of sight of another Troop 1 boat for some time.
  • Establish wait points along the river to help with the line getting strung out; on the St. Croix, we can use the mile markers at camp sites to plan
  • Wind was a challenge! Consider paddler size when setting up canoe pairs in windy conditions, and if a light Scout is in the front find ballast to weight him down (Dan's boulder under Stuart's seat was sheer genius)
  • Scouts did a great job this time of getting loaded quickly with correct gear; one less stove than we needed was taken, which we will address at the 5/2/2016 meeting with a labeling project.
  • Camp set up was also very effective; one tent that was missing bones was brought and had to be swapped--we need to do another tent assessment, possibly as part of the 5/2 meeting or a later meeting.
  • Breaking camp for canoeing was smooth
  • We had a successful campfire program--low key, because everyone was tired, but an effort was made
  • At supper, most patrols ate as a patrol; there was a little bit of wandering and begging for food from Scouts who didn't like their patrol's food; we need to continue to enforce the patrol dining method
  • Breaking camp went very quickly and efficiently. We had time after packing and policing to play games and take walks, and even left a little early to spend more time returning gear to the shed.
  • Early season camping at state parks often means that the office isn't open when we arrive, and if we have an off-site activity we may never encounter the park staff. We were not able to purchase wood at the camp office. Fortunately there was a lot of down dead wood at the site, and we used that despite the no-gathering regulations (the quantity of dead wood was such that no one will miss the little we burned!); in the future, when using state parks early or late in the season, we should be prepared to purchase local firewood at a convenience store near camp.
  • The outfitter, Wild River Outfitters in Grantsburg,, was great to work with, and I would use them again for a similar or even an extended St. Croix River trip.