RiverTalk St. Cloud

group discussing issues RiverTalk participants discussing issues and concerns.

woman studying comments Reading comments written by other participants.


historic dredging operations Historic dredging operations on the Mississippi River

February 4, 1998

Read what community participants had to say about Mississippi River issues.

Comments by category

*Note: Participants at the St. Cloud meeting responded to river issues and concerns from very different perspectives regarding two different geographic stretches of the river. The majority of the comments were regarding the river from the Morrison/Benton county line down to the 10th Street Dam at St. Cloud. This river stretch is NOT designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, and a joint local/state management plan does NOT currently exist for this area.

Other comments referred to the river below the 10th Street Dam at St. Cloud to the Anoka/Champlin county line. This stretch of river IS designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, and is the area being addressed under the current Mississippi River Management project. The following comments are marked as to whether they refer to the stretch of river above or below the 10th Street Dam at St. Cloud.

Riparian land use and development

  • I live on the west banks of the Mississippi across from Sauk Rapids. I am concerned that development will deprive us of the natural beauty of the river. It is important that we keep the river accessible and aesthetic - for social and moral reasons. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I am concerned about the way development has and is taking place in areas north of Pine Point to Rice Bridge and further. Some people have cut down trees holding the shoreland, put in rip rap, have fertilized lawns to the rip rap, retaining walls etc. - totally unnatural treatment of shoreland. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Sauk Rapids Bridge should seriously consider no-build alternative. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • We like to canoe. We are concerned that natural features, especially along the bank, are disappearing redoing the banks for residential development. Natural features disappearing on Pine Point and north. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Stearns County has adjusted reasonable setbacks for boathouses, and it helps preserve the shoreland. However, Benton County unfortunately allows boathouses to be built very close to the water. As a result, its shoreline looks very unattractive. I recommend an ordinance not allowing any more boathouses to be constructed. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Too many houses and other structures and lawns along shore of river. (St. Cloud)
  • The river corridor needs to be protected from development that would ruin the "feel" of the area. Many houses currently sit right on the river bluff and soon remove most of the trees from the view. Unfortunately, this destroys the area for those using the river. Development should have strict setbacks and those who issue permits need to have some oversight from the state. Once the trees are removed, stability can be a problem. (St. Cloud)

Wild and scenic river management

  • There should be a buffer strip of perhaps 100-125' that would be preserved and not developed. Private ownership would not be permitted. No docks, boathouses, etc. Except maybe at designated public accesses. Also, there should be no variances given. There are rules and regulations for the wild and scenic - don't give variances. When real estate agents or developers sell, their comment is "Don't worry about it. You can get a variance." (St. Cloud)
  • Do not change the boundary lines for the wild and scenic. Not necessary at this time. Boundary lines are well known and the only reason for changing it would be to allow for development. (St. Cloud)
  • Please, please do not let housing encroach on the River Corridor.>Wild and Scenic should stay. There's 10 miles of great scenic and pristine acreage between Clearwater and St. Cloud. We don't need to inhabit every acre up to the river's edge. Let's keep the river in a state somewhat similar to the way it was when the white man first arrived! Let's leave something for future generations! (St. Cloud)
  • Concerned about inequities of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act boundaries - 4 acre parcels with city services in St. Cloud would have to sell for 150.00 to 175.00... virtually unsaleable. (St. Cloud)
  • I am concerned that the redoing of the boundary of the Wild and Scenic river (which needs to be done) should not be arbitrary. The boundary needs to include a natural vegetative edge that includes large upland tracts of woods which abut the floodplain and shoreland area. These are also important to wildlife which use the river. (St. Cloud)
  • More fee title ownership originally proposed under the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. Especially Grand Island, 1.5 miles south of the St. Cloud Dam and the upper Terrace Woods on the Sherburne County side, Sec 24, NE1/4. (St. Cloud)
  • I would like to see housing and development on the river south of the 10th street dam restricted as much as possible. I canoe on this part of the river often and I think it deserves its Wild and Scenic River status and we should do all we can to preserve it. (St. Cloud)

River stewardship

  • Protect the river from incorrect development. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Make the best use of the river. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Selfishly, I use the river and its banks for biology field trips and research. This reminds me of endangered species." Extinction is forever." Save what areas you can for the next generation of teachers and students. (St. Cloud)
  • The river is one of a kind...let's make the effort to save it for future generations. Consider a buffer zone of ---- feet which remains with the river (no private ownership or private use). (St. Cloud)
  • Protect the scenic - natural undisturbed - along the river banks of the river. (St. Cloud)
  • Why are we focusing on people's use of the river? What about promoting water quality, no erosion, natural habitat for wildlife, native plants? We should be stewards, not consumers of the river. (St. Cloud)
  • As development and access increases soon what we enjoy will be gone!! Fertilizer from lawns, soil erosion from bare hills, gas and water films on water in air. When is it too much?! (St. Cloud)
  • The river brings a sense of community to those of us that live there. (St. Cloud)

Parks, trails and natural Areas

  • Graves farm (this bend). The Graves family would like to see this used as a park rather than developed for housing. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I would like to see the Graves Farm(Rice) Benton Co (across river from Stearns Co. park) be set aside for a park as Stearns County Mississippi park is, rather than be developed for housing. Then both sides of river would be preserved for approx. a mile and one-half for posterity. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • There needs to be protection for the Putnam Woods-a fabulous high quality oak woodland. It should be preserved -acquired as a park if possible. (St. Cloud)
  • Clean up islands - make them a park so people can use them responsibly - need reclamation. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • We need natural areas along river. For example the 3/4 mile of shoreline south of Rice south of the DNR land, And at the junction of the Miss. River and the Platte river. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Public parks along river-on east bank so more people have access. (St. Cloud)
  • I would like to see the Beaver islands which are mostly in public ownership designated as a Scientific and Natural area like the Stickney area north of Clearwater, MN. SCSU studies show it has unique wildlife habitat within the city. (St. Cloud)
  • The Beaver Islands trail project has been very successful. I've talked to various people who utilize the trail all the time and they love it. Those people and myself have been wondering if there are future plans to expand this trail. (St. Cloud)
  • I would like to see more trails like Beaver Island trail. It's a great place to roller blade and bike-if we had more of these around town it would give kids a place to go. (St. Cloud)
  • There is little public access to the river, especially in the downtown area; how about a levee. (St. Cloud)

River recreational use and management

  • Please! Please! No More Laws! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Like to jet ski, Boating, Swimming. Training for jet ski should be similar to what kids are now doing for snowmobiles. Have dealers work with manufacturers to get discount-free merchandise....if they can prove training was done (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Boating all kinds are A-OK on the river and always have been. The season is short and in Minnesota boating is the best. Never change that. (St. Cloud)
  • I paid a premium for a lot to build a house on for easy access to boating, snowmobiling and the river's entertainment. I don't think I should have to take a loss because of new legislation. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • It should stay the way it is right now. The way it is now is why people moved onto the river. The people who do not like it should move. (St. Cloud)
  • I am concerned that our boating, jet skiing, fishing will be taken away. I am concerned that any type of enjoyment that we may have on the river will be taken away from us. Who has the right to do that? We are a society of relaxing with our toys. We are responsible people. We have the right to hear music at the Pirates Cove. It is done in a responsible manner and is respectful of all others. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • My concern is that the "status quo" will change. I've noticed that the people who use the river are friendly, courteous and responsible. The sheriff does a good job and has a nice wave. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • North of Sartell Dam we do not need any additional rules or regulations--lower property tax, yes. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I am concerned that the boating, skiing, fishing ,tubing, etc, will be taken away. Our rights to enjoy the river on or in our boats. The ability to take my kids boating for extended lengths of time and distance. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • The river is my playground....Please let me play. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I live on this section of the river and moved there to be able to enjoy the recreational (and party) activities. I am concerned my ability to drive my pontoon boat from the Benton\Morrison County line to Sartell will be restricted. I also enjoy the live entertainment (outdoor music) at Gilligan's Bar and at the Pirates Cove. It is also great to have the 40 mph speed limit for safety reasons. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Listen to the majority of the people that live on the river! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Need to hear the homeowners' opinions! We chose to live on the river-we knew there would be boats/personal water craft!! We like them. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • We moved to the river not only for the wildlife, scenery, and country living feel, but also for the recreational activities the river offers. The river provides its users social means to promote a friendly river family. We are absolutely in love with our river home and want nothing changed or banned. Re:recreational activity. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I have lived on the river north of Sartell for 39 years. The reason I chose to live there is I enjoy to ski and boat there. I have 2 kids that also love to boat and ski. Please don't change anything. No more laws!! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Having decisions made by a minority of residents that are out of touch. These people should get real jobs. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Concern: To be restricted in the type of activities - boating, skiing, water craft. And hours. In terms of what and when I want to use it. I would like to see nothing addressed. Just leave it alone. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Minority selfish interests are made the major focal point of future legislation. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I am concerned with my prime source of life and recreation during the year. We bought property on the river for this purpose. To take away this source of livelihood and recreation would be extremely upsetting. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • My concerns deal with the following:
    • that a few couples can try to control the backyards of a multitude of people
    • the river is free!
    • our property value is contingent on the river. People recreate on the river and buy property based on their leisure time. We will, in time, sell our home on Pine Point. Please see the light of what is happening here. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I am interested in preserving my rights to use the area north of the Sartell Dam for recreational boating, personal water craft, snowmobiling, etc. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • My concern is that I want to be able to use the river as I have in the past. Enjoying the river from Blanchard Dam down to Sartell. Leave it alone. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I am in favor of the entertainment available from the two bars (Gilligans and Pirates Cove) and the recreational use of the river. By the way, I live on the river!! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • We want to ride snowmobile, boat, ski, hunt, swim, ride all of the river. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Freedom to use the river as it was intended for food, recreation, and sporting! No more restrictions! Thanks. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • We don't want people like .... controlling the river and us. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • If the Cove is gone, I think I'll starve between May and September because the Cove provides more meals than our home kitchen! It has been that way since before I was born in my family. I am concerned about my nutrition! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • No laws no laws no laws. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • The Cove and Gilligans provide a necessary stronghold-the river (between the Champion Dam and North is an excellent rec area as is and does not require any more attention at this time or in the near future. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • A strong concern of lowered property value if the Cove cannot provide a place to go for music. We live on Pine Point and feel the draw to the area is the recreational use of the river in that area. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Leave it as it is. Short and simple. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I believe there are enough regulations (speed/existing laws relating to all types of water craft) and hope that the river area (from Sartell Paper Mill to Blanchard Dam) does not get burdened with additional regulation to the detriment of recreational boating. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Concerning the area from the Sartell Dam to the Rice Bridge, my main concern is for the use of the river as has been dictated over the past 30 years. Most of the businesses and residences of that area have established in that area for the pleasures of boating, fishing and use of the river. They have paid large sums of money for their property, have built nice homes and are paying very high taxes for that privilege. The established business have also invested the same. To take that away would take away the rights and dreams, property value and purpose for investing in that area. It would be wrong. Although I don't live on the river, I grew up on it and I have enjoyed this area all my life. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • My concern is the insanity of how one family can move into an existing neighborhood and take over. What kind of insanity is this? I have lived on the river in Pine Point all my life. We were one of the first families in the neighborhood. We feel that it is not only unfair but ludicrous that one family can take our lives and try to turn them upside down! I've grown up on the river-boating, jet skiing, water skiing, ice skating, cross country skiing, snowmobiling and fishing. To lose the friends who come onto the river to eat, listen to music, and relax would be horrible. I may be young, but I've lived on the river longer than most. Growing up, I've already learned how the government can be controlled by such a small number. I've enjoyed the music at the Cove since I can remember. This is such a concern for me. Our neighbor moved into an existing neighborhood with an existing restaurant across the river. I'm sorry, but to move into that and try to conform it to your standards is crazy. If you don't like it, move. The river is a recreational place for all. If that is not what is desired try finding a place that is. I am disappointed with our government being controlled by .0001% of the people. I've always thought majority rules, but apparently not. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • We love going to the Cove all summer. We have been residents of Pine Point for 25 years and have loved every minute of it! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • We love the music and have for 25 years, living at our residence at Pine Point. Thank you! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • We want music at the Cove!! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Interested in preserving my rights to use the portion of the river north of the 10th street dam for recreational use. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I have lived on or by the river north of Sartell all my life. I built a house north of Sartell on the river 44 years ago and our family enjoys snowmobiling, fishing, boating, swimming, jet skiing, hunting on the river from Sartell to Blanchard Dam and also going to Gilligans and the Cove and hope it will stay the same. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I own 3 pieces of property on the river in the area affected and am concerned that unreasonable restrictions will cause the recreational use of the river to be curtailed and property values will plummet. Talk to those who own and maintain the land on the river first! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Can we replace Gordon Bridge so we can boat from the river to Little Rock Lake? (Boats can't fit under). (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Because I grew up on this area. Large family and still have family gatherings there. We can boat and go to parks in the area (Hester & Wilson). We would still like to have the right to navigate the area as we have the past 50 years. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • The river is my backyard. My whole window view in my living room is my personal livelihood. Every season of the 25 years we have lived in Pine Point is more enjoyable then the next. We also enjoy boating. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • What is happening here is an example of the bureaucracy under which we live. The "do-gooders" of the whole world some times also have the most time to work towards their cause. Listen please to the rest of the story. The wide majority of the people in the area say, "we want our river as it was, is and hopefully always will be". (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • The river from the Champion Dam to the Headwater does not require any additional regulations. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Liberty for taxpayers! Liberty for tax dodgers! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Ferry Point residents are fortunate to have fish & birds outside our lots-we enjoy watercraft! Please don't change anything. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Don't add any further watercraft restrictions to the stretch of river north of the 10th St. Dam. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • What about river north of Champion to Rice? (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • The river belongs to all Minnesotans. We are a diverse group with different ideas about its use. Don't always let the Eco-Puritans set standards. (St. Cloud)
  • My spouse is 40 something. But when we're on the river he forgets. (St. Cloud)
  • Effects and measures taken here will directly affect people on the river. Not organizations who do not live on the river or people from other areas; taxpayer's property values etc; recreational use of the river. (St. Cloud)
  • It's my land. (St. Cloud)

Personal watercraft (jet skis)

Water safety

Boat speed limits

Boat wakes

  • Keeping the river open to jet ski because it is a high traffic area-no one can say the skis interrupt the quiet or stir up mud. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Do not outlaw the use of personal water craft on the river!!! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I would like to see restrictions placed on noise levels and irresponsible use of jet skis. I live on the river in St. Cloud across from Wilson Park. The noise generated by jet skis drowns out all other city noise and makes it impossible to carry on a normal conversation in my front yard. Also, I often see them piloted recklessly. They often try to create large wakes and then jump across them, endangering each other and sometimes boaters or canoers. The wakes, I believe, also cause undue erosion of the banks. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Driving jet ski - illegal activity - too young - drinking; should have strong messages just as snowmobilers are getting; take away jet ski for improper use. Do not regulate any more our recreational use of our area of the river. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Access to jet skis - would like to see some restrictions on use. (St. Cloud)
  • The nuisance of the jet skis are a concern. The noise and wakes are a problem. (St. Cloud)
  • Ban seasonal water craft on river. Noise and distracting disturbance. (St. Cloud)
  • Great need to restrict how waters of the river are used - from jet ski and in some cases large boats. (St. Cloud)
  • Homeowner on river; personal right P.W.C. boating within the laws of the land. (St. Cloud)
    • Keeping the river safe but accessible. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
    • Large and fast boats (excess speed) on river between Sartell and Rice. Need better speed restrictions and more enforcement. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
    • Sometimes the river traffic is so bad that one can not fish out of their boat for fear of getting hit by speed boat or skier or jet ski. (St. Cloud)


    • Above Sartell Dam, there is already a 40 mph speed limit, which is fine, but don't impose lower levels. It is a great place to ski and recreate. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
    • Keep speed limits under 40mph. (St. Cloud)
    • I am concerned about the large wakes that are generated by the large size (hull) boats. The wakes are doing significant damage to the shoreline. (St. Cloud)
    • Wake for jet ski? (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)

Water quality/litter

  • Clean up the river. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Concerned about runoff into river. Farm-livestock-grass clippings all contribute to algae and green water. River affects Little Rock Lake which has some problems. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Cattle in river. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I am wondering about the portion of the river located by the dam in Sartell by the paper mill. 1. pollution 2.use. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • See river cleaned up. (St. Cloud)
  • Water quality and ways\ideas to improve. (St. Cloud)
  • Would like to see the river cleaned up. It is so dirty that residents can't even swim on their own beaches. (St. Cloud)
  • Concerns with agricultural pollution from the major tributaries such as the Sauk River, Clearwater River, Elk River, Crow River. The Sauk River is a major cesspool with feedlot and ag runoff. (St. Cloud)
  • Keep pollution out of the river. (St. Cloud)
  • This river is so dirty only carp live in it. Its not ours to abuse. Clean it up. (St. Cloud)


  • People that own the land and homes enjoy the river everyday and season of the year. They are better stewards and caretakers of the river then those passing through for a couple of hours. Who litters and who picks it up? (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Dumping limbs, trees, and pine needles into river. (St. Cloud)
  • Need annual or semi annual river cleanups. Can be coordinated between sports and civic groups in the adjacent communities. (St. Cloud)
  • Any area open to the public use/access invariably has a serious litter problem. We do a river clean up and any place where fishermen have access are full of bait containers, and empty beverage containers. I do not understand why people can carry in a full 12 pack but are too weak after drinking it to carry out empty cans. (St. Cloud)

River flows and dams

  • As a kayaker and white water canoer I would like to see the Sauk Rapids preserved. Every now and then I hear rumors that there are plans to raise the level of the 10th street dam to generate more power, thus flooding the rapids. I think this would be a disaster not only for kayakers and canoers, but for everyone, since this is such a beautiful part of the river which gives a unique character to this area. Let us not do to the Sauk Rapids what Minneapolis did to St. Anthony Falls. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • The issue of the rivers ability to carry flood water is my main concern. The channel north of the Sartell dam has changed significantly in depth over the past 20 years. Many shallow areas have developed which will cause major ice jams when the conditions are right & the ice goes out when it is thick due to a rapid spring thaw. The spring flood in 1965 will be nothing compared to what will occur if conditions repeat. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • The DNR needs to study the stream north of Sartell to prevent spring flooding. A dredging plan for shallow areas must be looked at. Ice jams in the spring will be catastrophic. Homes continue to be built in marginal (low) areas that expect everyone downstream to help them out when the water gets high. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • River flow during extended periods of drought have been artificially fluctuated by dams that are supposed to be run of river holding water for peak power production. This causes problems for downstream users. (St. Cloud)


  • Preserving wildlife-attracting more waterfowl, bald eagles, etc. (St. Cloud)
  • The river is as clean as its been in many years. The fish population is great. I can see bottom while spearing at 7 feet no problem. (St. Cloud)
  • Fishery studies on the river in the Becker/Monticello area indicated a very healthy resident population. Since the smallmouth regulations were changed in the early 1990's the size of the smallmouth increased (?Our data.) Some other changes have also become evident. The catfish population has increased dramatically since the late 1980's. (St. Cloud)

Multiple topics of concern

  • I am concerned that development plans will not take into account the need to protect the beauty and accessibility of the river and its wildlife. In the past, St. Cloud has built buildings (Kelly Inn, Civic Center) so that they block the river. Also the possible plans to build a longer Sauk Rapids bridge over the rapids is very distressing. This is a unique feature!!!! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Too much traffic from new boat landing without any concerns regarding river congestion and safety. Non-river residents disrespectful of river residents and their property. Hunters shooting from middle of river in boats; danger to river residents. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • I'm concerned about expanding no wake zones. Concerned we will lose use of the river between Sartell Dam and Blanchard Dam. Really enjoy the restaurants along the river; want them to continue their operation. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • My concerns:
    • Restricted use of the water way, boating, PWC, Snowmobiling
    • Property Taxes-we pay very high taxes for waterfront property. Property value-our land to buy was and is high.
    • Residential Areas-Why not go up north where people have not developed the land area. (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Water quality and ways/ideas to improve
    • fear of over-regulation of use
    • fear of restriction of use for recreational activities of all types. (St. Cloud)
  • Campsite needed between Clearwater and Monticello; proposed new bridge site should be at Enfield location. (St. Cloud)
  • Jet skis and like kind:
    • a) too loud b) too fast c) too many
    • Excessive traffic on river
    • Excessive noise above transom exhaust systems
    • Water traffic exceeding speed limits without enforcement of present rules and regulations
    • Water traffic too close to shoreline. (St. Cloud)

Miscellaneous comments

  • Can you warm up the river earlier? (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Snowmobiler intrusive. (St. Cloud)
  • Love the cows in the water; kids get a big kick out of it!! (above tenth street dam, St. Cloud)
  • Nice folders! Who paid for them! (St. Cloud)

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