We’ve been able to track the advent of tubing on Chippewa Valley rivers all the way back to the early 1900s. But it’s clear that what’s happened in the last decade is a different matter entirely. Don’t believe us? Well, city-made plans for the future of our waterways have taken notice, and it’s in part because of tubing that recommendations such as new physical access points are being considered. That’s pretty good traction for a movement that has no organization and no leader.
Tubing is literally shaping our community, specifically the areas surrounding the Red Cedar, Chippewa, and Eau Claire rivers. While it’s likely the phenomenon’s most visible aspect has been large-scale events like FATFAR in Chippewa Falls and TubeStock in Menomonie, it’s the everyday domino effect in Eau Claire that’s become truly impressive.
Throughout the summer, on hot days and even not-so-hot days, hundreds of tubers can be seen streaming through downtown Eau Claire on their way to and/or from a lazy tube ride – with increasing frequency and ferver each year. Consider how tubing plays a role in how more and more students stay for summer, providing renewed interest in our natural beauty and recreation, and helping our local economies. And like many of the quality of life experiences to be had in our area, a vital appreciation of the natural and recreational aspects of our community increases our chances of convincing visitors and renters to become permanent residents.
As more and more people rally around the concept of our cities “turning back to the rivers,” it’s amazing to see so many young people finding joy in our waterways – some of the oldest things to be found in the Chippewa Valley.