River classifications

General river characteristics

To be eligible for inclusion in the Minnesota Wild and Scenic rivers system, a river or segment of a river, and its adjacent lands must possess outstanding scenic, recreational, natural, historical, scientific, or similar values. The river or its segments shall be classified into one or more of the three classes of rivers: wild, scenic, and recreational. Each river shall be managed so as to preserve and protect the values which qualify it for designation and classification.

Classification: Wild

Wild rivers are those that exist in a free-flowing state with excellent water quality and with adjacent lands that are essentially primitive. Wild rivers should not be paralleled by conspicuous and well-traveled roads or railroads.

Minnesota rivers with segments classified as wild: Kettle, Rum. (See the table.)

Classification: Scenic

Scenic rivers are those rivers that exist in a free-flowing state and with adjacent lands that are largely undeveloped (i.e., adjacent lands still present an overall natural character, but in places may have been developed for agricultural, residential, or other land uses.)

Minnesota rivers with segments classified as scenic: Kettle, Mississippi, Minnesota, Rum, Cannon, St. Croix. (See the table.)

Classification: Recreational

Recreational rivers are those rivers that may have undergone some impoundment or diversion in the past and that may have adjacent lands which are considerably developed, but that are still capable of being managed so as to further the purposes of this act. This means that bordering lands may have already been developed for a full range of agricultural or other land uses, and may also be readily accessible by pre-existing roads or railroads.

Minnesota rivers with segments classified as recreational: Mississippi, North Fork of the Crow, Minnesota, Rum, Cannon, St. Croix. (See the table.)

Legal classification definitions (excerpt from 1997 Minnesota Rules)

River Segment Classification Table

Designated River Segment

Classification

Kettle River

 

From the Carlton-Pine county line downstream to the Kettle River dam site at Sandstone

scenic

From the dam downstream to its confluence with the Saint Croix River

wild

Mississippi River

 

From county state aid highway No. 7 bridge at Saint Cloud to the county line at the Clearwater River between Stearns and Wright counties, and state highway No. 24 in Sherburne County

scenic

From the county line at the Clearwater River between Stearns and Wright counties, and state highway No. 24 in Sherburne County, to the northwestern boundaries of the city of Anoka and the city of Champlin

recreational

North Fork of the Crow River

 

That portion in Meeker County from the spillway at the southern end of Lake Koronis to the Meeker-Wright County line

recreational

Minnesota River

 

From the Lac qui Parle dam to the U.S. Highway 212 bridge in the corporate limits of Montevideo

scenic

From the U.S. Highway 212 bridge in the corporate limits of Montevideo to the Great Lakes Pipeline one-quarter mile downstream of the Minnesota Falls dam

recreational

From the Great Lakes Pipeline one-quarter mile downstream of the Minnesota Falls dam to the Redwood County state aid highway 11 bridge

scenic

Rum River

 

From the Ogechie Lake spillway (excluding the shoreland of Shakopee Lake), to the river's northernmost confluence with Lake Onamia

wild

From the Mille Lacs CSAH 20 bridge to the Mille Lacs CSAH 9 bridge, and from the Mille Lacs CSAH 13 bridge to the T 31 N -- T 32 N line on the southern border of the Anoka County fairgrounds

scenic

From the state highway 27 bridge in Onamia to the Mille Lacs CSAH 20 bridge, from the Mille Lacs CSAH 9 bridge to the Mille Lacs CSAH 13 bridge, and from the T 31 N -- T 32 N line on the southern border of the Anoka county fairgrounds in the city of Anoka to a line crossing the river between the center lines of Madison Street and Rice Street

recreational

Cannon River

 

From the northern city limits of Faribault (the common border of the north and south halves of Sections 19 and 20, T110N-R20W) to the state highway 56 bridge, and from the Lake Byllesby Dam (the common border of Sections 13 and 14, T112N-R18W) to the common border of Sections 7 and 8, T112N-R17W, in Cannon Falls. The Lake Byllesby Reservoir is excluded from this segment.

recreational

From the common border of Sections 7 and 8, T112N-R17W, in Cannon Falls to the river's confluence with the Mississippi River.

scenic

St. Croix River

A Federally-designated National Scenic Riverway. See National Wild & Scenic Rivers Act for federal definitions of wild, scenic and recreational classifications

 

Upper St. Croix (St. Croix National Scenic Riverway)

From the source near Gordon, Wisconsin to the headwaters of the reservoir impounded by the dam at Taylor's Falls, Minnesota (89.5 mi.). Includes the Namekagon River from its source at Lake Namekagon to the railroad bridge near Trego, Wisconsin (63.5 mi.).

scenic

That portion of the Namekagon River between the railroad bridge near Trego, Wisconsin and the dam at Trego (6.5 mi.).

recreational

The Namekagon River from the dam at Trego to its confluence with the St. Croix River (28.0 mi.).

scenic

The St. Croix River from the headwaters of the reservoir impounded by the dam at Taylor's Falls to the dam itself (12.5 mi.)

recreational

Lower St. Croix (Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway)

The St. Croix River from the dam at Taylor's Falls to the Chisago-Washington county line (10.3 mi.)

scenic

From the Chisago-Washington county line to confluence with the Mississippi River at Prescott, WI. (41.7 mi.).

recreational