Heart of the River: Celebrating the First 50 Years of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

Starting DateSeptember 14, 2018

Ending DateOctober 21, 2018

Event Description


Exhibits and Special Programs: September 14 – October 21, 2018

Opening Celebration: Friday, September 14, 6 – 9 p.m.

Please join us as we celebrate the 50th birthday of the St. Croix River as a National Scenic Riverway. This opening celebration will be co-hosted by St. Croix River Association with support from Xcel Energy.

Heart of the River is a multi-part exhibit inspired by the St. Croix River featuring photographs by Craig Blacklock, the premiere of a video game by Dave Beck, ceramic work by 14 local artists presented in partnership with Northern Clay Center, and a juried show with work by 50 local and regional artists.

This very special celebration will feature:

Screenings of the film: The Wild and Scenic St. Croix

Introduced by Deb Ryun, Executive Director, St. Croix River Association; filmmaker John Kaul will be present for meet and greet.

The St. Croix River Association worked with filmmakers John Kaul and Tom Reiter to create this 27 minute film, along with Twin Cities PBS.

This beautiful documentary is a tribute to the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers. It is part of the celebration of the 1968 landmark legislation which preserved rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

The St. Croix and Namekagon were among the original rivers designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and the first to be named a National Park. Protecting a place as big and diverse as the Riverway and welcoming visitors to enjoy it as a National park was no easy feat. Including the St. Croix and Namekagon in the original Wild and Scenic Rivers Act took the efforts of visionary national leaders like Gaylord Nelson and Walter Mondale, corporations like Northern States Power (now Xcel Energy), and communities and people along the rivers.

Talking Waters Bar

The UWRF Sustainability Fellows is a faculty group dedicated to promoting Sustainability Justice and the Sustainability Justice Minor program. At the Talking Waters Bar, we serve flights of water from different regions in the St. Croix watershed to inspire conversation and reflection about the interdependence of community and sustainability. Water — it’s all we have.

Bluegrass Music by the Gritpickers

The Gritpickers Old Time String Band weaves hot fiddle-and-banjo tunes with songs that feature terrific two- and three-part harmonies. Sets are peppered with stories and humor that adds a grin to the toes already tapping in the room. They play for weddings, dances, block parties, restaurant shows, community events, garage door openers, and other hallmark cultural events.

What’s a Gritpicker? They are Don Jacques on fiddle and guitar, Rob Daves on banjo and Gene Willms on guitar. They thrill concert audiences, dancers and wedding parties alike with old time string band music.

Listen to their CD, Harmony Grits, on CDBaby.com/TheGritpickers. Visit them on Facebook. Their CD is available on CDBaby.com, and iTunes, and by contacting them at gritpickers@gmail.com.

Hands-on activities for all ages

National Park Service rangers

Summer Art Camp projects inspired by the St. Croix River

50th anniversary cake and champagne


Special Events and Related Programs


  • Different Voices: Shared Visions With panelists Daniel Bruch, Ozcan Kilic, Dean Simpson, and Rob Wertheimer. Thursday, October 18, 7:00 p.m., Black Box Theater
  • Docent-led Public Exhibition Tours, Free
    • Saturday, September 29, 6:00 and 6:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, October 18, 6:00 p.m.
    • Friday, October 19, 6:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, October 20, 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

Or call 715-386-2305 to schedule a private group tour

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