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11 paddlers, one from Whitefish Bay, are taking on the Mississippi River.WUWM's Environmental Reporter Susan Bence will check in with Wisconsin native Martha Brummitt throughout her 10-week journey.

One Week In - Whitefish Bay Native Shares Paddle Forward Progress

Nine days ago, five canoes launched from the northern shores of the Mississippi River. We catch up with one of the paddlers – a Whitefish Bay native - as they navigate along the river.

Martha Brummitt is one of eleven members of the “Paddle Forward” expedition.

Along its projected 10 week course to New Orleans, the crew is gathering information and impressions of the mighty river.

Martha Brummitt at the bow, while fellow Paddle Forward member Lee Vue paddles in the stern.

When we talked by phone – 8 days into the trip – Brummitt reported water levels are lower than expected. In fact, they planned to launch from the Mississippi’s headwaters – that’s Lake Itasca – in Minnesota, but instead shifted to deeper water about 50 miles downstream in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Brummitt describes the river – so far – as beautifully untamed and says they consistently see eagles soaring above their heads.

“We’re in a very windy part of the river – lots of curves and bends – and there’s always a bald eagle at almost every corner that is in a tree and gets up and flies ahead of us. Teeny tiny signs that mark where the campsites are and we have to keep our eyes pealed for them. They often perch into a tree right next to where the campsite ends up being. We kind of have a sense that they are showing us where our campsites are.”


Susan is WUWM's environmental reporter.
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