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St. Croix camping permits now available

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The National Park Service at the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway announces that the annual permit required for camping on the Lower St. Croix River is now available.

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The permit is required for anyone camping along the St. Croix River between St. Croix Falls and the Soo Line High Bridge (river mile 29.5). Camping in this area is limited to designated campsites accessible only by watercraft.

The camping permit is available free of charge at the St. Croix River Visitor Center.

The visitor center is located at 401 North Hamilton St. in St. Croix Falls, and can be reached at 715-483-2274. Beginning Saturday, April 16, the visitor center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The application for a permit is also available online at www.nps.gov/sacn for people to print, read, sign and mail to the visitor center. After reviewing the application, NPS staff will mail the permit.

When obtaining a permit, campers agree to the following regulations:

• Campers must camp in designated campsites, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

• Campers are required to bring in and use their own portable camp toilets or use onboard facilities on self-contained boats.

• A total of 20 primitive sites and two primitive group campsites have been established. Up to eight people and three tents will be allowed at individual campsites. Group sites will accommodate nine to 16 people and up to six tents. Larger groups need to split up or make arrangements to camp in one of the state parks along this section of river.

• There is a limit of stay of three consecutive nights at any campsite. There is a 30-night limit for the season.

• Campsites must be occupied on the first night of stay.

• The camping permit must be attached to the tent so it is clearly visible. The permit must be displayed every time you camp in 2011.

• Alcohol is prohibited at the six individual Eagle's Nest campsites (river mile 48.5).

• Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

• Campfires are permitted only in steel fire rings or grills.

• The cutting of live vegetation is strictly prohibited. Dead and down wood may be collected from shoreline areas, however, it cannot be collected from islands.

• Possession of firewood that originates more than 25 miles from the riverway is prohibited.

• Campfires must be out and cold before you leave the area.

• Do not bring glass containers to the riverway.

• All trash must be carried out of the riverway at the end of your stay.

• Possession or use of fireworks is prohibited.

The regulations between St. Croix Falls and the Soo Line High Bridge were implemented as part of the National Park Service's Camping Management Plan for the Lower St. Croix River, finalized in June 2007. The plan addresses concerns about human waste, shoreline and island erosion, and the effects of minimally regulated camping on Riverway visitors and residents.

"We appreciate the cooperation of visitors in obtaining the camping permit and complying with the regulations. The goals of the National Park Service are to keep the water clean and to provide people with the opportunity for enjoyable river experiences. We believe the Lower River Camping Management Plan helps us to achieve these goals," stated Riverway Superintendent Christopher Stein.

The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a unit of the National Park System, was established by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968. It is one of a group of eight rivers in the country that first received this recognition.

For 255 miles, the St. Croix River and its tributary, the Namekagon, flow through some of the most scenic and least developed country in the Upper Midwest.

For additional information about the Riverway, visit www.nps.gov/sacn.

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