If you’ve ever paddled the Boo, specifically the downtown section, I recommend watching Running Free: The Baraboo River Restoration Story. It’s a short film about what’s resulted from dam removals on the river which once shaped the local economy. Removal of antiquated dams, especially lowhead dams, are often a heated local issue with passionate points-of-view on both sides. What I found interesting was that many in the Baraboo community felt that the benefits of removing them (specifically the Waterworks Dam) far outweighed the benefits.
It may have taken decades to fully realize those benefits, but the Baraboo is starting to see life in- and around- this once free-flowing river. It’s a story I’ve personally experienced – where a river once again regains its natural disposition, and the community benefits by way of tourism and safety. It’s fun for kayaking for sure, but it can also be a healthy decision for economies and ecosystems, as is the case with the Baraboo River.
This entire piece runs 15 minutes, is beautifully shot, and quite interesting for those of us who paddle rivers we’d like to set free. Check out the film here:
Last week I attended a virtual screening of the film hosted by the The River Alliance of Wisconsin and thoroughly enjoyed the backstory and discussion afterwards. If you want to catch the entire screening along with an introduction, some background and Q&A session following, watch below: