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New hiking guide focuses on St. Croix riverway

Douglas County trails are prominently featured in the first-ever comprehensive guide to day hiking the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

“Hittin’ the Trail: Day Hiking the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway,” by Rob Bignell, describes more than 70 trails in the popular riverway.

The National Park Service unit straddles the Minnesota-Wisconsin border and includes the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers. It runs from Prescott north to near Solon Springs, Wis., then extends into Wisconsin stretching from outside Danbury east to near Cable. The riverway annually boasts more than 520,000 visitors, which ranks better than over half of all national parks. Seven state parks and several state forests, county parks and nature centers can be found along the St. Croix and Namekagon.

“In the scenic riverway, you can lean against 200-year-old trees or feel the splash of a hidden waterfall, you can retrace the steps of historic portages or watch bald eagle families soar overhead, you can walk across billion-year-old rock or pick apples as autumn leaves turn red and golden,” Bignell said. “It’s not surprising that the riverway and its parks are so popular.”

Among the Douglas County trails featured in the book are those at Schoen/Louise Parks, Buckley Creek Barrens State Natural Area, Gordon Dam County Park and Brule River State Forest.