Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Kayakers in water with Milwaukee skyscrapers behind © Photo submitted by River Alliance of Wisconsin

See Milwaukee from an unusual perspective during the Milky Moonlight event.
Photo submitted by River Alliance of Wisconsin

August 2012

Wisconsin Traveler

Make a date with a river.

Amanda Laurenzi

More than 3,000 individual, organizational and business members preserve and protect our rivers through the River Alliance of Wisconsin. Maintaining our rivers is good for the environment and fun. Take some time to head out on the water and enjoy the last hurrah of summer with the River Alliance's Make a Date With a River events.

Paddling is a popular activity, but have you ever done it bathed in moonlit serenity? Milwaukee River Keeper co-hosts Milky Moonlight in Milwaukee on August 2 as an opportunity for night owls to venture out on Lake Michigan and back, under the stars. Registration is at 6:15 p.m. and paddling begins at 7 p.m. at the Milwaukee Rowing Club. Cost is $25 per person. A picnic will take place prior to sunset. When the sky is dark, participants will head out with their boats to experience the city of Milwaukee under moonlight.

If paddling isn't your forté but you still want to enjoy Wisconsin's beautiful rivers, have no fear – Tubing into Tomorrow is just right for those seeking a relaxing afternoon floating down the river on an inner tube. Jake and Kris Barnes, friends of the River Alliance of Wisconsin, are hosting the event on Friday, August 10, starting at 2 p.m. in Amherst. They plan on having others join them in tubing down the Tomorrow River and then heading to the nearby Central Waters Brewery for a microbrew. Cost is $25.

But if you are an extremist looking for more adventure, check out Flex Your Mussels on the Chip on Saturday, August 25. Starting at 9 a.m. at Carson Park in Eau Claire, participants will head out on a 12-mile bike ride to Caryville. When the ride is over, Lisie Kitchel, an aquatic ecologist and expert in mussels, will teach "pollywagging" – the sport and science of collecting mussel specimens for identification. Cost is $25 per person, plus a state trail pass, which can be purchased on site. Information can be found at River Alliance of Wisconsin.

Once summer has left and the smell of fresh autumn air and the feel of the crisp breeze wafts over you, remember the last featured event the River Alliance has to offer: Autumn Hues of the Upper Wisconsin River. Bring your canoe and paddles on Saturday, October 6, to the Wisconsin River just under the Rainbow Flowage to join the 10- mile journey along the forested shore. The Northwoods Land Trust, which works with private landowners to permanently protect special lands in the north, will join the group. The journey ends at the Eggleston property, one of the lands under Northwoods Land Trust's protection, for participants to learn about land conservation via easements.

For more information about any of these events, please visit River Alliance of Wisconsin and look under Make a Date With a River for the listed events.

Once you've got your paddling muscles in shape, the River Touring Section (RTS), affiliated with the Wisconsin chapter of the Sierra Club, hosts three eight-day trips for people who want to explore the Boundary Waters near the Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Experienced tour guides take crews of nine or fewer to learn the history of the land, experience wildlife native to those areas and camp in the wilderness with new friends.

Mike McQuilken (phone 253-219-9208; email) and Scott McQuilken (phone 253-988-4394; email) will be giving the tour of Quetico's world-class fishing for bass, walleye and northern pike. Campers will experience 20 lakes and take three layover days to photograph and enjoy the wonderful scenery (August 10-18). The cost is $600.

Join Nancy McDermott (phone 608-238-1421; email) to explore ancient Ojibwa pictographs, a waterfall, fishing, two base camps, and delicious homemade, lightweight meals (August 17-26). Cost is $525.

Trip leaders Jane McMillan (phone 815-543-2756; email) and Bill Moore (phone 262-785-9022; email) will also be featuring ancient Ojibwa pictographs, waterfalls, fishing, layover camps and history on their trip, plus laser-lit stargazing and Moore's famous firebaked bannock bread (August 25-September 3). Cost is $495.

For more information and events, go to RTS 2012 Trip List.

Amanda Laurenzi is a staff writer for Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.