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Celebrating the Mississippi

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opinion Brainerd, 56401

Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Forming a giant question mark on the map of northern and central Minnesota, the first 400 miles of the Mississippi River is a treasure of nature that needs to be preserved.

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For more than 30 years the Mississippi Headwaters Board, a consortium of eight Minnesota counties, has worked to build awareness and to protect the river. Now that organization has published “Mississippi Headwaters Guidebook,” a beautiful, full-color book with text by Molly MacGregor, and  photographs by Doug Ohman and Dominique Braud. The creative/managing director was Baxter’s Chip Borkenhagen.

Proceeds from sale of the book, which will be available soon at area and regional book stores and at the MHB’s website, will be used by the Mississippi Headwaters Board in its efforts to protect the river.

Crow Wing County Board Chair Paul Thiede, who also chairs the MHB, sees this as a time when the river supporters can possibly obtain funding from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment that was approved by voters about two years ago.  

Some may argue the Mississippi Headwaters Board is another layer of government but the people who serve on the board are elected officials from area county boards. Area commissioners who serve on the MHB, in addition to Thiede, include Brian Napstad, Aitkin County; Tom Wenzel, Morrison County; and Neal Gaalswyk, Cass County.

 Anyone who has ever enjoyed the beauty of our nation’s most important and historic river would enjoy the guidebook and the purchase would benefit an organization dedicated to preserving the natural, cultural, scenic, scientific and recreational values of the river.

We’ll borrow a quotation used in the book from the late U.S. Sen. Frank Church for those who remain unconvinced of the importance of conserving the upper Mississippi.

“In a country where nature has been so lavish and where we have been so spendthrift of indigenous beauty, to set aside a few rivers in their natural state should be considered an obligation,” Church wrote.

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