Reconnecting to the Mississippi

It’s there everyday and yet, it is so easy to forget what a treasure our “local” river is.

This past week I kept coming back to the Mississippi River. Parkways with bike and pedestrian paths flank both sides of the river at street level but hiking trails are found all along the riverside. You just need to find the access points…


Joel descending to the Winchell Trail

Bluffs and beaches are to be found along with hidden graffiti showing that all sorts of people are enjoying the river.


The ArtArk by Seitu Jones

Seitu Jones is a local artist that was giving a talk about a public art piece that he is building. Having grown up here in the Twin Cities near the Mississippi, his family spent many hours fishing and boating leading to a lifelong love of boats. His latest project is called the ArtArk and is being built in the Urban Boatbuilders workshop. Seitu is building a boat that is both a sculpture and a working boat that will be a place for citizen science measuring the health of the Mississippi.

Urban Boatbuilders is a youth development non-profit that teaches traditional methods of wooden boat construction. The apprenticeships culminate in an epic trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area – a life changing experience for anyone.


Seitu with one of the pontoons under construction for the ArtArk



The workshop in action

The Big Sit at Coldspring

The Mississippi River is a National Park. Each fall volunteers join Rangers in an annual bird count called the Big Sit. I showed up near the end of the day and the crew had spotted 51 species of birds. I wasn’t actually any help but I did  enjoy learning more about the birds that migrate through the park.


Under the leadership of Ranger Sharon aka Bird Chick




My camera phone couldn’t compete here


Official Bridge Opening

The Franklin Avenue Bridge was reopened after repair work that also created wider space for people on bikes and walkers to enjoy the views.


Lured to the grand opening by the offer of free snacks


The Mississippi created great wealth with its power and forms the modern-day backbone of the Twin Cities. A local treasure that keeps drawing me back again and again.