Launching Soon: Paddlers To Clean 1,200 Miles Of River

Next week, two men launch an expedition to paddle rivers and collect trash along the way.

Packing It Out Three Rivers Expedition Canoes

Water-loving Minnesotans and founders of Adventure Stewardship Alliance, Michael Anderson and Paul Twedt will paddle roughly 1,200 miles this summer on rivers in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Here’s the twist: They will pick up and remove litter as they paddle through the summer and into the fall.

Beginning June 13th, the expedition will span the 235-mile length of the Namekagon/St. Croix river system, the 330-mile Minnesota River, and 620+ miles of the Mississippi.

The crew is familiar with this kind of mission. Twedt is a founding member and former hiker on the Packing It Out team. He’s worked cleaning hiking trails, roadsides, and various parks and communities across America.

Mission For Good: Adventure Stewardship Alliance

The Three Rivers Expedition is the pilot trip for Adventure Stewardship Alliance. The crew’s intentions are to facilitate connections between people and place, “deepening their sense of place and inspiring stewardship of the natural world.”

Packing It Out Three Rivers Expedition Canoes and Kayak

Seth Orme and Abby Taylor of Packing It Out will join them for the 620-mile Mississippi River section. This takes place after the conclusion of Packing It Out’s cross-country bike trip this summer.

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The crew will pack out trash from all three watersheds. They will document how much litter they remove on a website as well as recording notable and unique finds.

They will keep ecological field journals of daily observations with some audio/video recordings. All this will be shared via various media outlets, and eventually through podcasts.

Twin Cities Cleanup & Event

This litter-cleansing crew will also host an event in the Twin Cities on October 14th as they paddle through, so be on the lookout for more info.

The crew chose these three rivers because of their significant historic and cultural importance to the upper Midwest. They also hold vestiges of wilderness across the local landscape.

Michael Anderson, left, and Paul Twedt

The route spans wild and scenic rivers along the Namekagon/St. Croix, to entirely agricultural shorelines along portions of the Minnesota River, to dammed industrial waterways along the Mississippi. The range of wild to tame (as much as any river can be) along these waterways is full spectrum.

Anderson and Twedt believe it is important to remember these rivers are arteries of industry, irrigation, and power. But while workhorses of the Midwest, they should also give recreational experiences. The project reminds us to be good stewards of these valuable water resources.

Packing It Out Three Rivers Expedition Michael Anderson In Canoe

Connect with the group on social media or follow the Three Rivers Expedition by signing up for email updates at Adventure Stewardship Alliance. And as the group promotes — live intentionally, act ethically.


Paul Twedt Founder of Adventure Stewardship Alliance and Co-founder of Packing It Out.

Our 2017 ‘Packing It Out’ coverage is sponsored by REI.

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