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Pen Used to Sign Wild & Scenic Rivers Act Finds a Home at St. Croix River Visitor Center

President Johnson presented the pen to then Senator Walter Mondale on Oct. 2, 1968 after the signing ceremony for the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

A pen used by President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act into law has been donated to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and is now on display at the St. Croix River Visitor Center in St. Croix Falls.

According to a news release from the National Park Service:

The St. Croix and its tributary, the Namekagon, were among the first eight rivers in the nation protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. They were also the only rivers among those eight designated as a unit of the National Park System, now known as the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

"Literally with the stroke of this pen, the United States embraced a policy of river protection, placing value on clean, free flowing water.  We are deeply honored to become its caretakers,” remarked Chris Stein superintendent of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

The signing ceremony on October 2, 1968, also had other connections to the National Park System. It included legislation to establish the North Cascades and Redwood National Parks, as well as the National Trails System Act, which created a network of scenic, historic and recreation trails that includes National Park System units like the Ice Age and North Country National Scenic Trails.

On March 14, 2012, President Barack Obama signed a bill exempting the St. Croix River Crossing from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Where has the Pen Been?

President Johnson had presented the pen to then Senator Walter Mondale after the signing ceremony on October 2, 1968. Senator Mondale gave the pen to James Taylor Dunn, chief librarian of the Minnesota Historical Society from 1955 to 1972 and author of The St Croix: Midwest Border River. In 1999, Dunn donated his cabin in Marine on St. Croix to the St. Croix Watershed Research Station, the environmental research station of the Science Museum of Minnesota. The signing pen was part of that donation.

In a ceremony on December 5, Daniel Engstrom, director of the Research Station, returned the pen to Mr. Mondale who then presented it to Chris Stein, superintendent of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

“Given its role in the creation of the Riverway, it seems fitting that the pen should reside with the National Park Service and be available for public viewing at the visitor center,” Engstrom said.

To Go

The pen is now on display at the St. Croix River Visitor Center, located at 401 North Hamilton Street in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.

The visitor center is open daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with free admission. Call (715) 483-2274 for additional information.

OLD MORT January 03, 2013 at 10:51 PM
And what good did it do? The Cheese heads conned us into paying for half of that huge bridge thatspoils the looks the the St. Croix River but will get them to work on time at Andersen Windows. Thanks to Bachmann. Frankin, Dayton and Klochubar!
Dr. Lou Saeger January 04, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Mort, you're such a curmudgeon. Do you think Stillwater's downtown clogged with commuter traffic is pretty? Or good for business? Or conducive to enjoying what downtown has to offer? The bridge is a beautiful bit of functional architecture, and sooner or later the aging lift bridge would fail, and what would you like to do about that? The fact that it's the only thing all those elected officials ever unanimously supported is proof that it was the right thing to do, and long overdue!
yomammy January 04, 2013 at 04:30 PM
no kidding doc.. think mort needs to renew his Man Will Never Fly club card. Its funny how they seem to think bridges ony work in one direction....

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