Goodbye Little Muskrat Island


            Boaters on the Mississippi River in St.Cloud and visitors to Wilson Park are probably familiar with the little Island that had sprouted upstream over the years.  I don’t know if it had an official name, but I called it Little Muskrat Island (the diminutive cousin of the Beaver Islands to the South). The little Island had a solid base of shrubs, and even it’s own tree.  How that tree and vegetation sprouted in such a soggy clump of sand and clay was truly a feat of perseverance. 

The Little Muskrat Island in September 08
Compare this image to one you can find framed at Coborn's on Cooper Ave. Note that the picture you'll find there is over 50 years old.


                For as long as I had been paying attention to it during 8 years of kayaking, it had flourished during drought and flood and the continual ups and downs of the Mississippi. I hadn’t visited the island this year but from where I walked along the riverbank I could see that the little Island seemed to be struggling.  There had been flooding and a strong ice flow this spring so I was concerned that the scraggly little island had been affected. Maybe the island had been all but scraped away by the ice and left the tree barely clinging.


AA P1060360 Lil Muskrat - Copy
A closer look at the island photographed in September 08





        Last evening I took a brief outing by kayak from the Sauk River to the Mississippi and downstream back to home. As I approached the Little Muskrat, I feared the worst as I just couldn’t see that little tree standing in defiance over the water.  Arriving closer, the truth became apparent, that the little island was gone. All that remains of it now is a submerged sandbar and some weather-bare sticks that mark where the island had been.





P1490552 Kayak Shot
The remains of Little Muskrat Island, July 09




            Exactly what happened to the island I don’t know, but I’m sad to see it gone. I suppose it’s history goes back much further than the years I paddled up to and around it.  I wonder just how long it had been there.  Maybe in the years ahead, somehow, another tree will take root and the Little Muskrat Island will return again one day. Time will tell.

Quick Response Saves Sauk Rapids Home

7.27.9 SR Fire 3.24pm Additional Firefighters Arrive
I was positioned perfectly as this additional unit rolled to a stop, so I framed up the firefighters as they leaped from the truck and went into action.
7.29.9 3.26pm Firefighter emerges from house with one of the cats.
A firefighter emerges with a cat that was inside the house during the fire. Read the complete story at
I’ll tell you that it isn’t easy to photograph the scene of a bad event. It was good to capture the heroics of this fire crew that gained control of a fire that could have destroyed an entire home. The scene captured here is the action of a home being saved, when it might have been a home being lost. Good work team!


I did an experiment tonight writing a news story in real-time from information gathered on the EMS radio…

At 10:18pm Friday evening, Avon Fire and Rescue was called to the public access of Upper Spunk Lake in Avon to assist a boat 300′ off shore. It was reported that the boat was taking on water and starting to sink. When rescuers arrived, they were to be alerted to the location of the sinking vessel by a signal light aboard the ailing boat.

The first rescue squad arrived at approximately 10:23pm, located the boat, and determined it was further than 300′ from shore. The on-site crew was advised by Rescue One which was still enroute on I-94, that they should began looking for a boat along shore to commandeer in the rescue effort, as the fire department boat did not have a motor.

By 10:32pm, the crew on scene had located a boat to use. At 10:37pm, it was announced, “boat is safely at the access, all units can cancel.”

No information as to the identity or number of occupants onboard the sinking vessle is known at this time.