Senator Gaylord Nelson and his Indian friends saved the Namekagon River

The young Democratic Senator from Wisconsin Gaylord NelsonWisconsin's strong voice Gaylord NelsonFather of Earth Day Gaylord Nelson

Back in 1965 Gaylord Nelson paddled down the beautiful Namekagon River with Senator Walter Mondale, 138 canoeists and tribal members from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Tribe to help protect the Namekagon from development.

In 1968 the beautiful Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers became the first rivers east of the Mississippi to be protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.


To view photos from that historic event click on the pictures below.

To view the complete Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, click here

Gaylord Nelson and his guide from Lac Courte Oreilles, Bill BarberGaylord Nelson and his guide from Lac Courte Oreilles, Bill Barber Gaylord Nelson and Senator Walter Mondale paddle the Namekagon River in 1965 to draw attention to the need to protect the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers from development by utilities and others.Gaylord Nelson and Senator Walter Mondale paddle the Namekagon River in 1965 to draw attention to the need to protect the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers from development by utilities and others.

 

The Milwaukee Journal

Monday, June 21, 1965

There were 138 canoes in the flotilla that toured the Namekagon River Sunday to promote it as a national scenic waterway. Leader of the expedition was Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) who paddled a canoe (left) with his Indian guide, William Barber of Hayward. The canoeists (upper) with Sen. Nelson (right)and Sen. Walter F. Mondale (D-Minn.) (checkered shirt, second canoe from left), in the lead, pulled into Rat river camp for a noon lunch. The trip started at Historyland and ended 20 miles and several hours later at Springbrook on highway 63. An Indian style feast of chicken and wild rice, organized by Hayward businessman Tony Wise, was held that evening at Historyland. The trip was planned to call attention to the Namekagon and St.Croix rivers for inclusion in a bill being considered by congress to protect scenic waterways of the Nation.

-Journal Photos by Fred L. Tonne

 

 

 

Canoes line the riverbank in preparation for the historic day.Canoes line the riverbank in preparation for the historic day.
a canoe rests on the banks of the Namekagon

Horseback riders Sandy Lyon and her mother help canoeists at the Springbrook landingHorseback riders Sandy Lyon and her mother help canoeists at the Springbrook landing
 

To read Gaylord's May 2004 statement to the National Parks Service opposing the crossing of the Namekagon River by the 345,000 volt transmission line, click here to read the pdf file