Bike Fun Report: Whatever Happened to Mosey Creek?

Historical Bike Fun highlighted a splendid afternoon yesterday as twenty Poky Pedalers learned the answer to “Whatever Happened to Mosey Creek?”

The history of Mosey Creek, more commonly known today as Moses Creek, is intimately intertwined with the history of Stevens Point. From the earliest settlement in the mid-1800’s, through the establishment of the fledgling city and its continual growth up to the present, Stevens Point has repeatedly needed to address flooding issues within the Mosey Creek watershed.

Our Poky Pedal visited numerous sites relevant to this history, and at each we learned another piece of the story linking Mosey Creek to Stevens Point. We looked at old maps and historical photographs to help us visualize what this region looked like at various times over the past 150+ years.

The things we learned about included the following:

  • the Polish immigrants who Mosey Creek was named after (and as a bonus, one of our Poky Pedalers is the great-grandchild of this couple);
  • The Slough: a portion of Mosey Creek that formed a giant chasm just north of downtown – it was over 10 feet deep and several hundred feet wide and filled with water during heavy storms;
  • the drainage ditch dug to dry out land for farming which became the new channel for Mosey Creek and was a contributing factor to increased flooding;
  • Stevens Point’s major flooding problems of the 1920’s, resulting in building underground sewer pipes into which Mosey Creek was routed;
  • how the dam downstream from the Clark St bridge created the need to build a downtown pumping station in the 1930’s to pump the outflow from those sewer pipes up (yes, up!) into the Wisconsin River;
  • how continued development in the urban area over the ensuing decades created new major flooding issues in the 1970’s;
  • the building of new sewer pipes in the 1980’s to reroute Mosey Creek south below the dam;
  • the importance of preserving wetlands as an urban flood control strategy (this need continues today);
  • and the recent Moses Creek wetlands restoration project in Schmeeckle Reserve.

Our path took us to the headwaters of Mosey Creek, along the current path of the above-ground portion of the creek, and then along the path of the original sewer pipes the creek flowed through in the 1930’s. We continued to the former locations of The Slough and the pumping station and to the Pfiffner Park duck pond which is the last remaining vestige of The Slough. But this is not where Mosey Creek flows today. So we backtracked and followed the sewer pipes built in the 1980’s to the Wisconsin River at the end of Wisconsin St where today’s Mosey Creek exits an enormous pipe opening and meets the Wisconsin River.

Our Poky Pedal was 13 miles, but it felt like we covered even more ground in recounting this fascinating history of Mosey Creek and Stevens Point. It was indeed a full afternoon of Bike Fun.

Although we shared a great deal of Bike Fun, there were two unfortunate crashes resulting in minor injuries. Neither involved motor vehicles. One was on an off-street Green Circle path when a Poky Pedaler inadvertantly strayed from the trail. That crash seemed to merely result in minor scrapes. The other was a bicycle-bicycle collision starting up from a dead stop at a stop sign. One of the Poky Pedalers in that crash suffered a cut on their arm severe enough to go get medical attention, accompanied by two other Poky Pedalers to make sure all was okay.

In the 18 Poky Pedals to date over the past 2 years, these are the first crash injuries that have occurred. As I mention at the start of each Poky Pedal, it is important to always remain aware of one’s surroundings while bicycling. This is the case even when going slow, when on non-motorized paths, and when other bicycles are around. As a takeaway, hopefully all Poky Pedalers can better appreciate this need for continual awareness while bicycling so that we always arrive at our destination safely.

I hope both injured Poky Pedalers heal rapidly. Unfortunately, I do not have contact information for either Poky Pedaler. If any of the participants know either injured Poky Pedaler, please ask them to use the form below to send me an e-mail so that I can contact them and find out how they are healing.

I also want to express my appreciation for the two Poky Pedalers who accompanied the injured party who went for medical attention. If either of you can let me know how to contact you, I would be happy to express my thanks more personally.

Only one more Poky Pedal remains for this year. You won’t want to miss it, so check out the 2013 Bike Fun Calendar and the Upcoming Poky Pedals to learn more.

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