La Salle Lake Scientific and Natural Area, Minnesota—June 2016

47° 12' 33.336"N 95° 6' 35.8194”W

While setting up the Blue Buoy cairn for this image at this site off Highway 9 and 230th Street, we met a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources employee who dropped a small bucket from the bridge to measure the sediment in Coffee Pot Creek. She said that the name comes from the brown hue of the water, caused by the nearby bogs and iron in the surrounding soil.  In spite of the color, the shallow water was usually free of sediment down to 100 centimeters (3.3 feet), but after the previous day’s rain it was clear only 92 centimeters (3.2 feet). Because of its unique natural qualities, Coffee Pot qualifies for protection as a Federal Wild and Scenic River, but residents resist the designation, seeking to maintain local control.

What is a Federal Wild and Scenic River? The follow ing description is from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, October 2, 1968:

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Congress declares that the established national policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes.