Northwoods Native Paddles Down Mississippi

Nov 25, 2013

A Northwoods native is expecting to finish a 70-day paddle of the Mississippi River Tuesday.  

Eleven paddlers are nearing the end of their 70-day journey in New Orleans.
Credit Paddle Forward

Raised in Woodruff, Eric Immeler left northern Minnesota with 10 others in mid-September.  The group has been traveling the length of the Mississippi by canoe and is set to arrive in New Orleans Tuesday. 

Immeler says the purpose of the trip is to understand the role the Mississippi plays in people’s lives.               

“It first was potentially talking to people about climate change.  And then it molded into actually doing a lot of listening. And listening to communities along the river, and getting a sense for what the river means to them in 2013.”

The travelers have been documenting their trip by video. 

Immeler says he’s met a lot of people who rely on the river for their livelihood, while others barely notice it.  He says another surprising part has been the trip’s scenic beauty. 

“The Mississippi River is surprisingly - has a lot of green along it.  People associate it with being very industrial – I mean we have a lot of barge traffic and we pass a lot of ports and areas where barges fill up.  But there’s also quite a lot of green.”

The environmental education group Wild River Academy organized the project.  The paddlers have been charting their progress online and through social media, so friends, family and school groups can follow along.