Happy National Public Lands Day
Today is a day to celebrate! It’s the first day of Autumn and the 25th Annual National Public Lands Day! According to National Environment Education Foundation, “public lands make up 30% of land in the country … from national parks and forests, wildlife refuges, historic sites, state parks, and local and regional parks and gardens. National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer event for public lands in the country” (neefusa.org).
Protecting our nation’s public lands safeguards our most vital natural resources. Through the preservation of our public lands, we conserve and restore native habitats, promote biodiversity, and protect some of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Take today to get outside. Have an adventure. Take in the sunshine. Take hike. Have a picnic. Revel in the wonders of nature. Explore the wonderful, wild places in the St. Croix River Valley. Here’s a list of some of our favorites:
Baker Orchard - Centuria, WI: Family owned and operated since 1976, Baker Orchard grows a variety of high quality apples on the family land. Their 12th Annual Orchard Art Festival is this weekend, September 22 and 23, with local art, apple and cider samples, and local foods. Pick your own apples or buy from the stand, and take a tour of the grounds, including the renovated century-old barn.
River Valley Potters - The River Valley Pottery Tour features the art of potters in the St. Croix River Valley. In Shafer MN, visit Guillermo Cuellar & Friends Fall Sale, and Peter Jadoonath Backyard Pottery Sale. In Stillwater, MN, visit Nick Earl’s Fall Pottery Sale at Abnet Farm, and take the Western Wisconsin Pottery Tour in Hudson, River Falls, and Roberts, WI. Visit Take Me To The River for a full list of September events.
WI Interstate Park - Located in St. Croix Falls, WI, Interstate Park is Wisconsin’s oldest state park. Beautiful hiking trails carve through the area’s most prominent glacial formations, with picturesque views along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and the steep-sided gorge known as the Dalles of the St. Croix.
MN Interstate Park - Located in Taylors Falls, the MN Interstate Park features some of the area’s largest glacial potholes. Learn about the geological formations unique to the St. Croix River Valley, hike the interlinking trail system, and go on a wildflower adventure.
St. Croix River Association - St. Croix River Association is non-profit organization, made up of people and organizations advocating for land stewardship and conservation throughout the watershed. With an emphasis on land conservation, water quality protection, Watershed stewardship, and celebration, St. Croix River Association works to protect and restore important natural and scenic areas along the river and throughout the watershed. Take part in the many river events and activities!
State Trails - The St. Croix River Valley is known for its extensive trail systems. St. Croix Falls is known as the City of Trails: one-third of the city is set aside in land preserve with numerous trails for hiking and biking. Download a trail map here.
Stower Seven Lakes State Trail - This 14-mile trail traverses through the exceptional natural resources of our area, and acknowledges the longtime public service and leadership demonstrated by Harvey and Marilyn Stower of Amery, WI.
D.D. Kennedy County Park - D.D. Kennedy is a 106-acre preserve along the Balsam Branch that flows through central Polk County. A prairie restoration area features native grasses and wildflowers. The park includes a dam, millpond, and well-maintained trails. It provides a variety of habitat for a good mix of birds. The park includes excellent fishing with a handicap accessible pier, interpretive hiking trails, a picnic area w/grills, shelter, and restrooms. 11 km of trails groomed for XC skiing.
Standing Cedars Community Land Conservation - Standing Cedars is a nonprofit organization led by diverse group of St. Croix Valley residents, rooted in the community and committed to protecting land for the people, as well as the environment, of the Lower St. Croix River Valley. It preserves three vital ecosystems that converge here: Northern Boreal Forests, Eastern Hardwoods, and Tall Grass Prairies.