Big River Magazine
Explore the Upper Mississippi

November-December 2014

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Read stories from past issues of Big River

Cardinal flowers on the Mississippi (pdf) by John Sullivan

Mapping Time and the River (pdf) by Ryan Johnson, from March-April 2014

Download Army Corps 2011 Navigation Charts

Essay Only the River is Real, by Vincent Kavaloski, from March-April 2014

Dreaming of a trip down the river? Read about boaters taking a voyage of a lifetime down the Mississippi on River Trips.

* Sand Dollars Mining Frac Sand in the River Valley (pdf) Some of the best sand for fracture drilling is found in the exposed rocky bluffs along the Upper Mississippi. From July-August 2011 Big River.

Watch the time-lapse videos of the new Hastings bridge being moved and lifted into place.

State of the River Report Water Quality and River Health in the Metro Mississippi River is a product of the Friends of the Mississippi River and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

Live River Links

Weather forecast for Upper Mississippi cities

River levels on the Upper Mississippi

Towboat-watching resource: Boats in pools and queued in locks.

Dreaming of a trip down the river? Read about boaters taking a voyage of a lifetime down the Mississippi on River Trips.

Upper Mississippi News Links

Upper Mississippi River Blogs


Big River Carp T-shirt
Order Here!

A regional environmental and
lifestyle magazine

Current Issue
November-December 2014

Kenny Salwey's
King of the Swamp

The morning had dawned gray and misty. The pungent smell of autumn — fresh acorns, fallen leaves, and damp earth — permeated the air. I'd been cruising the Big Lake Country, blazing trails, counting 'rat houses and clearing portages for the hunting and trapping time soon to come.

I was halfway across a beaver dam when I saw them. I stopped walking then knelt down to get a closer look. They were deer tracks — the largest whitetail tracks I'd ever seen. Deer had been crossing this beaver dam since the first day it was built, maybe ten years ago. This is nothing unusual in the great swamp country along the Mississippi backwaters. Everything on four legs, plus humans, uses beaver dams as bridges in swamp country. In my many years of traveling the swamp I'd seen a whole lot of tracks, but this set of tracks was special. They were long and splayed out wide, after the manner of big bucks, the dew claws sunk deep into the rich, black mud. I made up my mind then and there that I would lay a trap come November for this great monarch of the swamp.

Read the whole story in the Nov-Dec Big River. Buy now

Outdoor Dreams Come True

Volunteers from the North American Squirrel Association help disabled people get outdoors.
By Ryan Johnson

River Pilgrims

Paddling the length of the Mississippi River is an
inner journey, too.
By Anna Segner

River News

River Trips

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Read More from Big River

Big River Travel Map
Dozens of scenic Mississippi overlooks and places to go.

Read Stories
about the Upper Mississippi River from past issues of Big River Magazine.

See complete issues from 2006 and 2007 online (PDFs). Select issues here

Volunteer groups on the river - a nine-part series about non-profit groups making a difference on the Upper Mississippi

Check the weather forecast and river levels for Upper Mississippi River cities.

More on overlooks

River organizations

Links to Upper Mississippi Resources

Take a look back at our April Foolishness river stories.


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Deck on Deck: Towboating in the Twin Cities by Capt. Bob Deck

What's it like to work on a towboat? Deck on Deck is a first-hand account of life on river towboats in the 1970s and 80s. These stories will entertain you as Bob Deck recalls his days as a deckhand on the Mississippi River.

Troubled Waters 30 Years in the River Business by Jack Lambert For sale in the Big River Bookstore. Listen to Jack's July 1st talk with Tommy Mischke on The Nite Show - Mischke Til Midnite,WCCO NewsRadio online.


Mississippi River guidebooks

Driftless Area, Lansing to LeClaire, Iowa, and Quad Cities Travel Guides by Dean Klinkenberg. More info and ordering info.