Historic River Ribbon Maps Tell a LONG Story!


Mississippi River Ribbon Maps
Ribbon map with Winder, The image is printed on matte archival photographic paper with no border. The paper measures 60 inches on the longest side and is variable on the shorter side according to the shape of the photograph.

Story is adapted by Pat Middleton, www.greatriver.com, from an article by Bob Mullen, for The Paddlewheel newsletter published by the Golden Eagle River Museum, St. Louis, Missouri

(Left) Authentic Historic Ribbon map with Winder, sized for use on the boat. 


 

Imagine a map of the Mississippi River that shows all of the cities and towns along the river and all the landings where a steamboat might stop.

Make the map about three inches wide and in one continuous strip showing the entire river from the Gulf of Mexico to its source at Lake Itasca, Minnesota. If you imagined correctly, you would have a map that is about eleven feet in length, like a long streamer or ribbon. Now roll up the map to a couple of inches in diameter and put into a wooden cylindrical container that can easily fit into your pocket!

 

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Happy 168th Birthday, Wisconsin!

Let us celebrate with historic French maps! Click on the maps to read detailed histories from Great River Arts… Lisa Middleton, Map Artist.Pause the curser over the map image and a magnifying glass with allow you to study the maps!!

We will do a different century through this coming week! First, the 18th Century.

Les Etats Unis  1765 (approx)

chief map on deerskin

Iowa/Wisconsin Territory

Les Etats Unis cropped

Les, Etats Unis, detail of Upper Mississippi River… “The Source of the River is Unknown..”

Ft Beauharnois pencil sketch

Ft Beauharnois near today’s Frontenac Minn

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1731, De L’Isle’s CARTE DE LA LOUISIANE… With Lake Pepin Named on the Upper Mississippi River…. name requested by King Louis 14th!

Decorah Eagles Cam Rich with Data

Many of us have been watching the Decorah eagle cam for several years as we get an intimate look at life in the eagle’s nest. That site again is http://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/decorah-eagles/

The two eagles born this year are just about ready to take flight, but years of observation and study at the nest has resulted in several detailed reports posted to the site on the Eagles we have watched grow up there.

For example, here is an eagle’s eye view of how our adult eagles differ in appearance, with a U Tube commentary from the Raptor Resource Center: https://youtu.be/5lARYcL5A50  Click to have a look. See also the history of Eaglets fledged in the last year, nesting behavior, and more!

 

 Railroad Trespass Hearings by Greg Koelker

Thank you, Greg Koelker for detailed report on Mississippi River Railroad Trespass Hearings. This is a significant issue for all of us along the Upper Mississippi River. If folks are not allowed to cross the railroad tracks. the trains which rattle our countryside constantly will also become a FENCE to separate us from the recreational resources we ALL love most about the river. It is worth paying attention to the discussions. ~Pat

Railroad Trespass Hearings  by Greg Koelker

Some 200 hunters, fishermen, trappers, birders, snowmobilers, business owners, community leaders, government employees and other concerned Mississippi River recreation enthusiasts showed up to be heard by State Senator Jennifer Shilling, Tim Yager from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Railroad Commissioner of Wisconsin, Yash Wadhwa at the De Soto Community Center and Stoddard Legion on April 22.

After introductions, Tim Yager informed the group that there has been investigation into 17 to 18 additional rail crossings along the Mississippi with good line of sight.  He added that these could cost between $15,000 and $250,000 each. He said that the position of the USFW is that they want safe and adequate access to the over 240,000 acres of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge.  The river is bordered by railroad tracks on both shores.

Dan Knapek of De Soto asked what percent of the railroad’s profit would it take to create the needed rail crossings.  Commissioner Wadwa said there were already 26 possible crossings being investigated.  They are looking to define all options and look into shared cost.

Long time member of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Bill Howe of Prairie du Chien said, “The railroad’s desire to limit access entirely impacts the entire rail system in this country.”  Howe called the railroad’s position, “…a great threat.”  He added that 15 to 20% of railroads are not on their own lands.

Dan Trawicke of Waukesha, representing the Safari Club, said, “This is not just a Western Wisconsin problem.”  He said that safety is a number one concern, but he added that it takes common sense.  “Additional crossings are not the answer,” said Trawicke, “we have a constitutional right” to access those lands.

Greg Koelker of Stoddard said, “Safely crossing a railroad track is no different that safely crossing a highway.  Look both ways and listen.  Then cross if it is safe.  Every first grader knows that.”  He added, “. . .  no amount of legislation will change the minds of suicidal people, drunks, idiots trying to beat a train, protesters of whatever, and especially not terrorists.”  Koelker brought up the long tradition of using the tracks to access the river. “I grew up near Cassville and my dad and I would walk the tracks to access ice fishing sports on Bertram Lake. For years, our family members crossed the tracks to trap and hunt ducks and deer and even morel mushrooms.  I used to cross the tracks at Shady Maple to ice fish with my family.  I have friends who cross the tracks to hunt ducks out on peninsulas along the river. There is no other way to get to those waters for much of the year.”  Koelker said he hears from legitimate sources that at least 50% of our legislators already support the change.  He added that, “I understand that the Railroad Commissioner has the power to order placement of railroad crossings.  I urge you to consider directing more pedestrian railroad crossings and to support changing the trespass law to allow direct crossing of the tracks.”

Click this link to continue reading Greg’s report.

Help Needed…Mississippi Valley Conservancy Bird Survey

Birders! Mississippi Valley Conservancy needs your HELP! We are seeking volunteers to look and listen for birds to help determine presence or absence of declining bird species on different sites throughout southwest Wisconsin. Volunteers essentially would go to a Nice Vertical Hummersite in early morning and make a list of any birds seen and/or heard. Sites vary between MVC nature preserves or private lands MVC is working to protect. These bird lists provide invaluable information will help to guide our restoration activities and prioritize sites with breeding populations of declining birds. If interested, email Abbie Church, MVC Conservation Director at achurch@mississippivalleyconservancy.org with your preference for habitat (forest, wetland, grassland); geographical interest (La Crosse County, Monroe County, anywhere, etc) and availability. We’re hoping to schedule site visits throughout May. Sites include woodlands, grasslands, and pastures in Trempealeau, La Crosse, Jackson, Monroe, Crawford, and Vernon Counties.

Mississippi Valley Conservancy | PO Box 2611, 1309 Norplex Drive, Suite 9, La Crosse, WI 54601 | 608.784.3606 ext 2 | www.MississippiValleyConservancy.org

Fabulous Fishing Wanes with High Water

Some 2-3 weeks ago we were are out along the Mississippi and marveled at the number of fishing boats clustered below the dams. I’m starting to see pix that explain the boats! Apparently at this time, with higher water, the perch have cooled, So walleye and sauger are more common. But it sure IS tantalizing!! For updates on fishing, please check our fishing category or the Genoa fishing barge. Photos courtesy Mark Clements.

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perchstringer
familyfishing 

 

Birding POPS at Brownsville, MN

My favorite birder and bird photographer has posted his report on Pool 8, below. According to Alan this is the time to see Tundra swans up close at the wayside south of Brownsville! Lots of ducks, Hawks, eagles, and Pelicans. Check in south of Goose Island on Wisconsin’s Hyw 35 for more of the same!

tundra swans
Greetings!

Things are finally picking up a bit on Pool 8 of the Mississippi with Tundra Swans now in close viewing distance from the Brownsville FWS Overlook. Of course, besides the swans there are plenty of other waterfowl to see as well as pelicans, eagles and other raptors.

My suggestion is that if you are thinking about going to Brownsville, this is the weekend to do it. Next week looks rainy (Mon-Wed) and then look out… It looks like our first taste of winter will be on our doorstep Thu/Fri and into next week. Looking at the computer models, they are consistently showing sharply colder temps and some of the models are showing measurable snow. The cold snap looks to last 5 days or so before moderation once again. Will it be enough to freeze up the river? Could be… or maybe not. If so, say good-bye to the show at Brownsville.

Alan Stankevitz

i wishicouldfly.com