Cleanup By Canoe: 300 Miles, 1,000 Pounds Of Litter

With 300 miles traveled of a 1,200-mile journey, a team of canoe paddlers have already collected about 1,000 pounds of trash along Minnesota waterways.

Adventure stewardship alliance canoe litter trash cleanup minnesota rivers

Michael Anderson and Paul Twedt started paddling last month. It didn’t take long to find their target — garbage.

Dubbed the Adventure Stewardship Alliance, they first traveled the Upper St. Croix River Watershed. The first river netted 736 pounds of trash in 15 days.

They started the second leg of their journey, the Minnesota River, last week.

Adventure stewardship alliance canoe litter trash cleanup minnesota riversWithin 64 miles on the Minnesota, they already picked up a heap of plastic, glass bottles, and styrofoam. Log jams held piles of rubble. They picked their way along, grabbing trash as they traveled.

But the Minnesota River holds remarkable vistas. They discovered a rarely-traveled, fluid highway through farm country.

“At every bend, the Minnesota River has demanded a complete surrender of any expectations or preconceived notions of how a river ‘should’ be,” the team wrote.

Adventure Stewardship Alliance

The Adventure Stewardship Alliance expedition will ultimately span the 235-mile length of the Namekagon/St. Croix river system, the 330-mile Minnesota River, and 620+ miles of the Mississippi.

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The team hopes to “inspire stewardship of wild places through packing out litter and developing a sense of place and connection with nature within our community.”

Adventure stewardship alliance canoe litter trash cleanup minnesota rivers

This is the pilot trip for Adventure Stewardship Alliance. The team still has a long way to go. But if the first 64 miles of the Minnesota River are indicative of the conditions they’re likely to find, they’re going to need a very big trash can.

– Our 2017 ‘Packing It Out’ (including the Adventure Stewardship Alliance) coverage is sponsored by REI.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.