2-9-12 Public Listening Session

Namekagon River Partnership Wants Your Ideas & Involvement (Press Release)

One of the nation’s treasures, the Namekagon River, flows from and through a 1,000 square-mile watershed here in northwest Wisconsin. The Namekagon, along with the St. Croix River, became one of the first eight rivers to be adopted by the National Wild and Scenic River legislation passed in 1968. Such a designation places the Namekagon in an elite group that has since grown to 203 rivers across the nation.

A  group of river enthusiasts, calling themselves the Namekagon River Partnership,  made up of canoeists, fishers, nature lovers, resource professionals, and recreationists, in association with natural resource agencies and other regional interests, is in the beginning stages of forming an organization that focuses on the Namekagon.

Bob Olson a Seeley resident, conservation leader, and son of famed conservationist Sigurd Olson, says “My Dad would be so interested in such an effort. He loved this river and came to know it like the back of his hand. His love of wild places and conservation education inspired me and others to appreciate the wildness of nature right in our front yard – literally. This is the river he first learned to use a fly rod.”

Olson, a member of a small group working toward bringing interested individuals and groups together adds “We have a great opportunity here to get folks involved in learning  and caring about the river, and appreciating what we have right here. We are looking to the future.”

“We want river enthusiasts to help us create the organization.” said Scott Peterson, NRP’s spokesperson. “This will be a citizen-based, grass-roots group; and involvement early in the planning process is imperative. We are looking for ideas that help define our vision for the future, and we hope to see new members as well.”

Frank Pratt, retired fisheries biologist and member of the steering group says, “Many ideas have been floated regarding what the organization will get involved in, but the planners are convinced that there are many people, in and out of the region, that have super ideas. We want to know what’s on their mind,”.

On Thursday, February 9, at 6:30 pm, the Namekagon River Partnership will hold a public gathering at the Sherman and Ruth Weiss Community Library in Hayward, located one-half mile north of the Hwy 63 stoplight on Hwy 27/77.

Dave Carlson, outdoor journalist and TV host of the show Northland Adventures from WQOW in Eau Claire, will open the gathering with his words of wisdom and humor. A Virtual Tour of the Namekagon River will follow, and then the group gets down to business with a structured process to gather ideas and suggestions about their future.  Refreshments will be offered. Please join us and come with a list of your suggestions. For more information call Dave Thorson, meeting facilitator, at 715-376-4260.

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