RTS 2015 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 6-7 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): Rich Krieg, 920-660-3557, richkrieg@new.rr.com.
Solo Clinic Leader: Rich Krieg, 920-6690-3557, richkrieg@new.rr.com
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 experiencedmoving water (river) paddlers who want to learn whitewater skills and novice whitewater paddlerswho 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 13-14 Wolf   
Class II;
Car camp.  Clinic Fee: $30 per person. Camping fee pro-rated for 2 nights.  Kayak whitewater clinic is limited to 10 boats.  Description of expectations is as listed for the Canoe Clinic, with attention paid to water flow and levels appropriate to participants. For whitewater use, your kayak must be equipped with bulkhead or air bags behind the seat and a properly fitted neoprene spray skirt.  There will be a classroom session geared only for kayaks.  Camping and other information including sign-up forms will be provided as part of the registration process. For Details and Registration, contact: Kasy Culbertson, 608-222-0746, kasy99@gmail.com 

June 23 and/or June 25  Bark and/or Crystal Rivers 
Class I.  Day Trip
. Clinic Fee: $15 per person per clinic day. If you are comfortable on lakes and are now ready to try rivers, RTS has added 2 kayak clinics.  Strokes and boat maneuvering more applicable to kayaks will be taught, as well as river reading skills.  The class size will be limited to 5 boats per clinic day.  Locations will be determined by water level and participant interest.  For details and Registration, contact: Kasy Culbertson  608-222-0746, kasy99@gmail.com

June 27 Badfish or Koshkonong 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 1-2 Red River
Class I-II; Car Camp.
 Fee: $40/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 paddlers and leaders.  For information contact: Walt Ruben, 920-946-1440walt.ruben@kohler.com, for Registration or Camping contact Doug Robinson, 608-334-8026dougknu@gmail.com


March 28-29 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 11 Bark River  
Class 1+;  Day Trip
. Join us for an early spring paddle on a clear spring made so by restored wetlands. As there are 7 bridges, portaging may be needed.  Weather and water level dependent, with Upper Rock as a fall-back river choice.  LIMIT: 10 boats.  For details contact: Kasy Culbertson 608-222-0746, kasy99@gmail.com  

April 18- 19; 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

May 2-3 Pine River
Class II; Canoe Camp
. Join us for the 39th 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 2-3 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 9 Whitewater Rivers of Central Wisconsin - Exploratory  
Class II-III Car Camp.
  Rivers determined by water levels. Saturday's hoped-for choice is the Little Wolf, located in the Forest Transition Ecological Landscape region in northwestern Waupaca County, home of major land cover of aspen, white cedar, hemlock, red pine and numerous conifers, and hardwoods.  However water level may determine another choice such as Eau Claire, Big Rib, etc.  Wet/dry suit as needed, neoprene spray skirt ( kayaks), and helmet required. For details, contact:Marianne McEvilly 715-250-3891rivermouse369@yahoo.com  Co-leaders: Kasy Culbertson, Doug Robinson

May 10  Whitewater Rivers of Central Wisconsin/Exploratory
Class II-III; Car Camp.
Rivers to be determined by water levels. Possibilities include 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 16 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 23-25  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, with fairly constant Class I rapids. 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.  Trip leaders: Pat & Bobbie Wilson, 608-788-8831, 608-397-2531 (cell), pbwilson@centurytel.net and Kevin & Carol Olson, 608-356-8992, olsonfam44@centurytel.net

May 26 - 29   White, Montreal, additional rivers based on group interest
Class II/III; Car Camp
. In addition to paddling, we’ll hike into several area waterfalls (Saxon, Superior, Potato, Morgan, Copper, Brownstone, and more) Learn about area mining issues and water resources. For details contact: Kevin or Carol Olson, 608-356-8992, olsonfam44@centurytel.net

June 6-7 WHITEWATER CLINICS for Solo and Tandem canoes (See Clinics above)

June 13-14 WHITEWATER CLINICS for kayaks (See Clinics above)

June 13-14 Pike or Oconto/Wolf
Class II-III; Car Camp.
We will determine rivers based on water levels on Saturday. Enjoy some beautiful scenery, wildlife and classic WI whitewater. We will help keep the rivers clean by picking up some trash along the way. For details contact: Dave Hiller, 608-527-3661, dave@davehiller.com or Bruce Nelson, 608-609-9978, b1bnelson@att.net

June 19-23  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 19, 2015 with a pizza dinner, introductions, orientation, and a movie. We will finish on Tuesday June 23.  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 9, 2015. 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, djwallac@wisc.edu

June 20-21 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 20-21 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. 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 23 or 25 MOVING WATER KAYAK CLINIC (See Clinics above.)

June 27 MOVING WATER CANOE CLINIC (See Clinics above.)

July 4 Wolf
Class II-III Car Camp. Enjoy a summer day on the Wolf. Hopefully we will have sufficient water levels otherwise the Red is an option. Helmet required. Great opportunity to observe wildlife. For details contact: Marianne McEvilly, 715-250-3891, rivermouse369@yahoo.com

July 11-12 Wolf
Class III-III+ Car Camp. Come and enjoy some challenging whitewater and beautiful scenery. We will paddle Section IV on Sat and a short III on Sunday. There is a $30.00 fee to paddle Section IV. This is an Intermediate Level trip and above. For details contact: Jack Burton, 608-393-9793, burtonjack48@gmail.com or Bruce Nelson, 608-609-9973, b1bnelson@att.net

July 11-13 Chippewa River
Quietwater; Canoe Camp
. The Chippewa River features sandbars, sandy beaches, wooded shorelines, and a wild appearance. You can expect to see eagles, osprey and other wildlife while paddling. We will start on the Red Cedar River (Irvington) to the confluence of the Red Cedar and Chippewa (camp) then continue on to Durand. Optionally, those wanting to spend another night on the river can continue on to camp below Durand and complete the trip on Monday at the Mississippi. We will cover 10 to 15 miles a day and paddle through both the Dunnville and Tiffany State Wildflife Areas. This is a great chance to learn about canoe camping. 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 1-2 RIVER SAFETY AND RESCUE CLINIC (See Clinics above.)

August 15-16  Upper Iowa (Iowa)
Class I; Canoe Camp
. This spring-fed river is one of the most scenic rivers in the Midwest – beautiful limestone cliffs break up this stretch of greenbelt. Learn about the unique geology and ecology of the driftless (unglaciated) region. Dogs are allowed on this trip. For details contact: Doug Robinson, 608-334-8026, dougknu@gmail.com

August 29-30 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 water quality. For details contact: Rich Krieg, 920-660-3557, richkrieg@new.rr.com or Dale Dean, 608-302-5744, daleink55@gmail.com

September 5 Wolf
Class II-III Car Camp.
Join us on the Wolf, home to multiple forms of wildlife. If we are lucky we will see deer, eagles, ducks, or otters. Helmet, floatation, PFD, required. For details contact: Marianne McEvilly, 715-250-3891, rivermouse369@yahoo.com

September 12-13 Kickapoo and Wisconsin Rivers
Quietwater; Car Camp.
We’ll put in a Plumb Creek Landing on the Kickapoo, camp on a sand bar on the Wisconsin, and take out at the bridge at Highway 48 at Bridgeport. The camping is primitive – no facilities. The quietwater trip is a great way to study the early fall bird migration in the Plumb Creek unit of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. For details, contact: Carl Wisler, 262-542-9593, carl.wisler@att.net

September 24-27  Namekagon River (for women)
Moving Water; Canoe Camp.
 Join other Sierran women for a scenic trip down a quiet water section of the beautiful Namekagon River in Wisconsin’s north woods. Learn about the ecology and significance of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. For details contact: Janet Clear - 608-833-1339, janetclear@gmail.com or Nancy McDermott, 608-238-1421, njmcderm@gmail.com

September 26-27 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: Dave Skriba, 920-210-9400, or Kasy Culbertson, 608-222-0746, kasy99@gmail.com

October 3-4  Wolf-Section 4 and Peshtigo
Class III+; Car Camp
. Fall colors and challenging whitewater.  Wet/drysuit and helmet required. Learn about the challenges of autumn whitewater. For details contact: Gregg Riemer, 608-257-5239, gregg.riemer@gmail.com

October 17-18  White River and Neenah Creek
Quietwater; Car Camp.
Paddle these serpentine wetland rivers and learn about the threats and impacts of irrigation and proposed bottled water facilities. For details contact: Gregg Riemer, 608-257-5239, gregg.riemer@gmail.com

October 24-25 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 9, 2016 River Touring Section Annual Meeting
Location to be determined!! 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 02 March, 2015