RTS 2014 Trip List


For a pdf version of this trip list click HERE.

Interested in paddling some great water with fun and skilled paddlers? If so, the River Touring Section (RTS) is the group for you. Every year, our members lead paddling adventures on both quiet water and whitewater. We also lead instructional clinics to teach you paddling and safety skills.

RTS is affiliated with the Sierra Club, but our trips are open to everyone. We want to get you on rivers. We hope that you grow to enjoy paddling and to love rivers and support groups that work to protect them such as the Sierra Club and the River Alliance of Wisconsin.

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Each trip and clinic includes the name and contact information of the trip leaders. You must call the leaders prior to the trip to register and to get the logistics of the trip (when and where it departs.) Trip leaders can provide information about the trip or clinic and help you assess your abilities to participate. Trip leaders reserve the right to limit participation based on the number of people registered, participant skill levels, trip difficulty, and other reasons.

GEAR:  You are responsible for providing all of your gear—boat, paddles, life jacket, bail bucket, and so on. You’ll also need to provide weather-appropriate clothing. This means a wet or dry suit for early and late season runs and for whitewater as well as gear to minimize sun exposure such as a hat and sunglasses.

All participants MUST wear a properly fitted and securely fastened life jacket on all the trips and in the clinics. For Class II and higher whitewater, participants should wear a life jacket designed for whitewater, a whitewater helmet, and have a boat that is properly outfitted with floatation and thigh straps.  These items may be required for some Class II trips (see trip description and talk to the trip leader) and are absolutely required for Class III and higher water.

You are responsible for providing all of your camping equipment—tents, sleeping bag, food, etc.  Trips marked “Car Camp” means you’ll return to a camping site for the evening. “Canoe Camp” means you need to carry all your equipment with you in your canoe. “Canoe Camp with Portage” means you’ll have an opportunity to carry all of your gear at some point on the trip.

CLASSES OF WATER: We want your RTS experience to be fun. We also want it to be safe. The International Scale of River Rating Difficulty (see box) is a guide for assessing the difficulty of a stretch of water and will help you decide if a trip is appropriate for you and your skill level.  Except for the occasional flatwater/quietwater lake trips, all of our trips are on rivers. Many of these trips are suitable for paddlers with solid flatwater canoe skills. Trip leaders are always happy to discuss the nature of the river with you.

International Scale of River Rating Difficulty
The International Scale of River Rating Difficulty is a guide for assessing the difficulty of a stretch of water. Some rivers will not clearly fall into a neat system. Temperatures below 500 F should change a rating to be one class more difficult than normal.

  • Class I - Moving water with few riffles and small waves. Few or no obstructions.
  • Class II - Easy rapids with waves up to three feet and wide clear channels that are obvious.
  • Class III - Rapids with high, irregular waves often capable of swamping an open canoe. Narrow passages that often require complex maneuvering. May require some scouting from shore.
  • Class IV - Long, difficult rapids and constricted passages that often require precise maneuvering in very turbulent waters. Scout from shore often necessary and conditions make rescue difficult. Canoeists and kayakers should have the ability to roll.

From the American Canoe Associate Web Site.

(Note: The scale includes two additional Classes—V and VI—but since RTS is not offering trips at that level, we didn’t include that information.)

LIABILITY WAIVER and REQUIREMENTS: All participants are required to sign a liability waiver prior to the trip or clinic and abide by decisions made by the trip leaders. If you would like to read the liability waiver form before you sign up for a trip or clinic, please see: http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/chapter/forms/.

TRANSPORTATION: You are responsible for providing your own transportation to and from the river.  The Sierra Club does not have insurance for carpooling arrangements and assumes no liability for them.  We can identify people who have space in their car and people who need rides, but we do not make transportation arrangements.


OTHER:  We do not allow non-paddlers, glass containers, or alcoholic beverages on our trips while we are on the water.  Pets are prohibited unless the trip announcement explicitly mentions that pets are allowed.


“CST 2087766-40.  Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.”

QUESTIONS/COMMENTS? Please see our web site at:  or http://wisconsin.sierraclub.org/rts/ or contact: Rich Krieg, RTS Chair, at eddyout@gmail.com, 920-660-3557.


RTS members offer several instructional clinics for a nominal fee.  These clinics are a great way to gain skills and confidence. Because we strive to maintain a low student to teacher ratio—typically 4 to l or less—we can offer highly individualized instruction. The clinics fill up early. To avoid missing out on the clinic you want to take, reserve your spot now by calling the clinic instructor and sending in your fee (non-refundable). All of the clinic teachers volunteer their time. Fees cover supplies and refreshments. RTS donates the remaining funds to conservation and river protection groups.

June 7-8  Wolf River
Class II; Car Camp. Clinic Fee: $30 per person; plus a camping fee for two nights. 
RTS whitewater clinics are for reasonably experienced moving water (river) paddlers who want to learn whitewater skills and novice whitewater paddlers who want to improve their skills.  This is for open canoes, not kayaks. Paddlers must provide their own properly equipped canoe.  Except for some classroom sessions, separate instruction will be provided for solo and tandem participants.  There will be a potluck dinner Saturday night for clinic participants, instructors, and RTS paddlers.  Please bring a dish to share. 
We have reserved the group campsite at the Bear Paw Outdoor Adventure Resort for camping Friday and Saturday nights.  If you prefer other lodging arrangements, there are many options available.  See the Wolf River Territory website (
www.wolfriverterritory.com) for information.

For information and registration, contact: 
Registration (Solo or Tandem):  Gregg Riemer, 608-257-5239, 
Solo Clinic Leader:  Rich Krieg, 920-6690-3557,

Tandem Clinic Leader:  Pat Wilson, 608-788-8831



June 7-8   Wolf River 

Class II; Car Camp. Clinic Fee: $30 per person; Camping location and fees to be determined.

Kayak clinic is limited to 10-12 participants. RTS whitewater clinics are for reasonably experienced

moving water (river) paddlers who want to learn whitewater skills and novice whitewater paddlers

who want to improve their skills.  Paddlers must provide their own properly equipped whitewater kayak, which means a bulkhead OR air bags behind the seat AND a properly fitted neoprene spray skirt.  (And of course life jacket and helmet.)  Except for some joint canoe/kayak classroom sessions, separate instruction will be provided for kayakers. There will be a potluck dinner Saturday night for clinic participants, instructors, and RTS paddlers.  Please bring a dish to share.

We will have a reserved group campsite for camping Friday and Saturday nights.   

If you prefer other lodging/camping arrangements, there are many options available.  See the 

Wolf River Territory website (www.wolfriverterritory.com) for information.

For information and registration, contact: Kasy Culbertson, 608-576-4226, kasy99@gmail.com



June 24-26 Bark and Crystal Rivers  

Class I; Car Camp.  Clinic fee $15 per person per clinic day. River choices will depend upon participant interest and water levels. If you are comfortable on lakes and now are ready to try rivers, RTS has added a KAYAK clinic.  Strokes and boat maneuvering more applicable to kayaks will be taught, as well as necessary river reading skills.  The class size will be limited to 5 per clinic day. (Some kind of flotation may be required for certain kayaks.)  For more information, contact: Kasy Culbertson, 608-222-0746, kasy99@gmail.com



June 28   Badfish Creek near Madison

Class I. Clinic Fee: $20 per person. Confident and competent on lakes, but not ready for rivers? Then this canoe clinic is for you. We’ll review the basic strokes—draws, prys, sweeps, forward, back and J. We’ll discuss safety, reading water, and maneuvers—ferries, side slips, and eddy turns. Then we’ll practice these skills as we canoe Badfish Creek or Koshkonong Creek. To register or get more details, contact: Carl Zimm, 608-246-0485, beampowered-tetrode@yahoo.com



August 2-3  Red River
Class I-II; Car Camp. Fee: $35/person, plus camping fees. Limited to 10 people. Through active, hands-on instruction, you will learn river rescue techniques. Including how to throw and receive a rope, correctly swim and cross the river, rescue boats and swimmers, handle strainers, release pinned people and boats, and manage rescue scenarios. Note that swimming in the river and moderate physical activity are part of this clinic. One of the goals of the clinic is to improve overall comfort and knowledge in the river/water/rapids.   We will paddle the Red River on both days. Recommended to all who might lead or inspire to lead paddling trips. Also recommended for regular retraining of rescue techniques for experienced leaders.  To register or get more details, contact: Walt Ruben, 920-946-1440, walt.ruben@kohler.com or Doug Robinson, 608-334-8026, dougknu@gmail.com


March 15 – 23  Buffalo River (Arkansas)

Class I-II; Canoe Camp. Congress designated the Buffalo as America’s first “national river” in 1972.  This unique status protects the Buffalo from commercial or residential development, thus preserving its scenic beauty and natural wild state forever. We’ll paddle a 100 mile stretch of the river, camping on gravel bars along the way.  Trip limited to 6 watercraft. $50 registration deposit required. For details, contact: Gregg Riemer, 608-257-5239, duNord@sbcglobal.net


March 29-30  Robinson and Morrison Creeks near Black River Falls

Class II; Car Camp. When the water is up in the spring, these two small, scenic creeks are a lot of fun.  Although the Robinson has a couple of drops, they can be portaged. Trees often need to be portaged as well. As always, we’ll pick up spring thaw trash as we go, leaving the streams in better shape for those who follow. Wet/dry suit required for this early season trip. For details, contact:

Phillip Johnsrud, 715-445-4777, johnsrudp@tds.net


April 18-20  Little Rivers Exploratory

Class III; Car Camp. Based on water levels, we’ll select two or more small rivers in central or northern Wisconsin that can only be paddled in spring.  Learn about river restoration and preservation.  Wet/dry suit and helmet required. Note:  Depending on water levels, we may change the date of this trip.  For details, contact: Dale Dean 608-302-5744, daleink55@gmail.com or Doug Robinson, 608-334-8026, dougknu@gmail.com


April 27  Bark River
Class 1+; Day trip. Join us for an early spring paddle on a clear stream made so by restored wetlands. As there are 7 bridges, portaging may be needed.  Weather and water level dependent.  Limited to 8 participants.  For details contact: Kasy Culbertson,
608-222-0746, kasy99@gmail.com


April 26-27  Popple River

Class II-III; Car Camp. Join us on one of Wisconsin’s 5 state-designated “Wild Rivers.” This is a river which has fantastic whitewater opportunities but generally has sufficient water levels only on a limited basis. We will also attempt a hike to Jennings Falls on Saturday. Learn of the history and challenges facing the Wisconsin’s Wild Rivers. Wet/dry suit and helmet required. For details, contact: Larr Zibell, 715-546-2131.  






May 3 – 4  Whitewater Rivers of Central Wisconsin - Exploratory

Class II-III; Car Camp. Rivers to be determined by water levels.  Possibilities include Little Wolf, Eau Claire, Big Rib, etc.  We’ll discuss storm water runoff and how to control it as we paddle these exciting wild rivers.  Wet/dry suit and helmet required.  For details contact: Doug Robinson, 608-334-8026, dougknu@gmail.com

May 10-11  Pine River

Class II; Canoe Camp. Join us for the 38th annual Pine River weekend!  We plan to paddle from Highway 55 to Chipmunk Rapids in Forest and Florence Counties. This is a terrific opportunity to canoe and camp on one of Wisconsin’s designated “wild rivers.” There will be time to reflect and discuss the challenges and changes facing this river. For details contact: Larr Zibell, 715-546-2131.


May 12  Pine River

Class III; Car Camp. Continue down the Pine! We will camp at Chipmunk Rapids Sunday night and then paddle the next stretch. Mostly quietwater except for Snaketail Rapids, Meyers Falls, and Bull Falls. Wet/dry suit, helmet, flotation required, unless you plan on portaging the rapids. For details contact: Rich Krieg, 920-660-3557, richkrieg@new.rr.com


May 17  Baraboo River

Class 1; Day Trip. This stretch of river is shallow and rocky with a nice current. Good for plastic and Royalex canoes or kayaks. Shallow gravel sections would be hard on nice kevlar or fiberglass boats. Helmets required for kayakers and solo canoes. This section used  to be blocked by three dams, which have been recently removed, allowing boaters and wildlife to return. Come see how this now free-flowing river makes a fine centerpiece to historic downtown Baraboo. For details, contact: Carl Zimm, 608-246-0485, beampowered-tetrode@yahoo.com 


May 17-18  Root River (Minnesota)

Class I; Car Camp. Enjoy a weekend paddling the Root River in unglaciated SE Minnesota near Lanesboro. Dolomite cliffs overlook the valley which has many spring fed tributaries and abundant wildlife. Learn about the region’s early history and its effect on the river valley.  Camping is free but canoes/kayaks need to be licensed.  For details, contact: Sue O’Brien, 507-452-3164, sueob1@gmail.com.


May 24-26  Bois Brule
Class I-II; Car Camp
. Join us for three day trips on the Bois Brule. On Saturday, we’ll paddle from County S to Highway 2. On Sunday, we’ll paddle from Pine Tree Landing to Highway 13—this section includes a series of Class II rapids. On Monday, we’ll paddle from Highway 13 to Lake Superior. We’ll learn about the work to protect this trout stream. Helmets required for rapids. Camping is available at the DNR Campground south of Brule WI in Douglas County. The trip leader will reserve as many sites as possible. This is a busy weekend so please share your site with fellow Sierrans. For details contact: Pat & Bobbie Wilson, 608-788-8831, 608-397-2531 (cell), pbwilson@centurytel.net


May 27  White River

Class I-II; Car Camp. Extend your Memorial Day weekend trip. Join us on Tuesday after paddling the Bois Brule. This is a delightful river with a true northwoods feel. We will take time to clear any debris found. We will gather Tuesday AM at the DNR campground south of Brule in Douglas County. For details contact: Mary Blandino, 414-546-0375 or Katy Golden, 414-378-1053, katyrenny@yahoo.com


June 7-8  WHITEWATER CLINICS for Solo and Tandem canoes, Whitewater Kayaks (See Clinics above)




June 14-15  Pike River/Red River

Class II; Car Camp. The Pike is a beautiful small whitewater river and a designated WI Wild River with numerous small drops. The Red has something for all whitewater paddlers. Helmets required. For details contact: Jim Servais, 920-434-0740 or 920-217-6284.


June 20-24  Sylvania Wilderness Service Project
Quietwater; Car and Canoe Camp.
The pristine Sylvania Wilderness is being invaded by non-native thistles.  Help the Friends of Sylvania remove these invasives and enjoy the beauty of this special place.  You can also practice portaging and canoe camping to prepare for your other summer expeditions.  We will begin Friday, June 20, 2014 with a pizza dinner, introductions, orientation, and a movie. We will finish on Tuesday June 24.  The first evening will be car camping and the remainder will be backcountry canoe camping.  Meals will be coordinated cooperatively to minimize expense and maximize quality.  Fees are $50/ person.  We have 11 places open.  If interested, we need your reservation by June 10, 2014. See the Friends of Sylvania website for background. Canoes are available for discounted rental. Contact Ms. Wally Brinkmann for registration at
wabrinkm@wisc.edu and for questions and details contact trip leader: Dan Wallace, 608-835-5144, dwallace@src.wisc.edu


June 24-26  MOVING WATER KAYAK CLINIC (See Clinics above.)


June 21-22  Mecan River
Class I; Car Camp.
This trip is for those that like to paddle small rivers.  We will paddle a section above Germania Marsh on Saturday and a section below the marsh on Sunday.  The Mecan is a premium trout stream with crystal clear water.  It maintains a steady current and at times requires precise maneuvering around tight bends or dead fall.  This river is not recommended for beginners struggling with boat control.  Come learn about the threats and impacts of irrigation and proposed bottled water facilities.  For details contact: Leo Hummel, 608-322-7014, dhummel@centurytel.net


June 21-22  Pike River/Wolf River

Class II+; Car Camp.  Practice whitewater skills from the WW clinics before they get rusty. The Pike on Saturday.  Section II of the Wolf on Sunday.  For details contact: Phillip Johnsrud, 715-445-4777, johnsrudp@tds.net


June 28  MOVING WATER CANOE CLINIC (See Clinics above.)


July 12 – 13  Quiet Rivers of Southern/Central Wisconsin - Exploratory

Class I; Car Camp. Explore one or two quiet water rivers in southern or central Wisconsin.  River choice will depend on water levels, possibilities include: Lower Wisconsin, Sugar, Mecan, Lemonweir, or Platte.  Plan to pick up trash along the way and explore the varied geography in southern Wisconsin.  For details contact: Doug Robinson, 608-334-8026, dougknu@gmail.com


July 19-22  Wisconsin River

Quietwater; Canoe Camp. This trip is on the lower Wisconsin. View the narrowing valley formed by the limestone cliffs. Start at Wauzeka and camp on the Wisconsin. Take out at Wyalusing State Park. The camping is primitive—no facilities.  For details contact: Carl Wisler, 262-542-9593, carl.wisler@att.net 


Late July  Montana Whitewater

Class II-IV; Car Camp.  Join experienced paddlers on some classic rivers in northwest Montana.  The trip will be flexible in order to meet the needs and skills of participants. Paddlers must feel comfortable on rivers like the Wolf Section III.  Join us for all or part of this trip. For details contact: Phil Johnsrud, 715-445-4777, johnsrudp@tds.net


August 2-3 RIVER SAFETY AND RESCUE CLINIC (See Clinics above.)


August 9-10  Manitowish River

Quietwater; Car Camp.  We will paddle two segments of the Manitowish, camping at State Forest Campgrounds. Experience the beauty and importance of Wisconsin’s northwoods. For details contact: Carl Wisler, 262-542-9593, carl.wisler@att.net 


August 23-24  Flambeau River

Class II; Canoe Camp.  Refresh your soul on the Flambeau by participating on a trip that has become one of our finest traditions. Learn how State Forests are important for protecting rivers. For details contact: Rich Krieg, 920-660-3557, eddyout@gmail.com or Dale Dean, 608-302-5744, daleink55@gmail.com


September 13  Badfish Creek

Moving Water; Day Trip

This creek always has enough water for boating, and has opportunities for wildlife viewing along its sparsely populated banks. Plastic boats are recommended because of occasional rocks and gravel in shallow spots. Badfish Creek meanders like a lost tourist, welcoming shorter boats - long sea kayaks not recommended unless you can back ferry. The creek has about twice the speed of current you would expect in this area because of the effluent from the technologically advanced Madison wastewater plant. Come see how the water starts out clearer from this highly regulated effluent and gets murkier from less regulated farmland runoff as we go downstream. For details contact: Carl Zimm, 608-246-0485, beampowered-tetrode@yahoo.com


September 20 - 21  Oconto River

Quietwater; Car Camp. We’ll paddle quietwater stretches from Suring to Hintz on Saturday and from Hintz to Pulcifer on Sunday. Learn how Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Law impacts the state’s forests. For details, contact: Gregg Riemer, 608-257-5239, duNord@sbcglobal.net


September 25-28  Namekagon River (for women)
Moving Water; Canoe Camping.
Join five other Sierran women for a scenic 25 mile canoe paddle on the Namekagon River, part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The Namekagon is a quiet and narrow river that meanders through varied landscape and abundant wildlife in Wisconsin’s northwoods. We will be paddling down a quiet water section of the river with a few riffles from below Trego to the Namekagon Trail Landing.  This trip is ideally suited for women wanting an introductory wilderness canoe/camping experience. Learn the history of the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers, and how they became a National Scenic Riverway.Cost: $150, including canoe rental, group equipment, and meals.  Deposit: $50 will hold your reservation.   For details contact: Nancy McDermott, 608-238-1421, njmcderm@gmail.com


September 27-28  Wisconsin Whitewater (rivers to be determined)

Class II-III; Car Camp. Another beautiful fall weekend (if we’re lucky). Depending on water levels, paddlers’ interest, and weather, we could paddle the Pike, Red, or Wolf. This is a chance to improve paddling skills learned earlier this year in the clinics or on other rivers, and to see bald eagles and kingfishers along the way. Wet/drysuit and helmet required. For details contact: Bruce Nelson, 608-244-6397, b1bnelson@att.net or Kasy Culbertson, 608-222-0746, kasy99@gmail.com

October 25-26   Wolf River (Sections II & III)

Class II-III; Car Camp.  Annual Halloween Trip.  We’ll paddle Section III on Saturday and Section II on Sunday. Wet/drysuit and helmet required. Potluck dinner on Saturday night.  For details contact: Phil Johnsrud, 715-445-4777, johnsrudp@tds.net


Saturday, January 10, 2015  River Touring Section Annual Meeting

Summit Village Hall, outside of Oconomowoc at 11 am. For details, contact: Rich Krieg, 920-660-3557, richkrieg@new.rr.com


Liability Waiver & Carpooling
In order to participate in a Sierra Club outing, you will need to sign a liability waiver. In the interests of facilitating the logistics of some outings, it is customary that participants make carpooling arrangements. The Sierra Club does not have insurance for carpooling arrangements and assumes no liability for them. Carpooling, ride sharing or anything similar is strictly a private arrangement among the participants. Participants assume the risks associated with this travel.


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last update 10 February, 2014