About the Film


There are two storylines that are working together in Gone Paddling. The first is the history of the Wisconsin River. The second is the experience of paddling the entire river. Producer, Jesse Hieb, filmed his experience of paddling all 430 miles of river over 21 days by himself in September of 2016 on a standup paddleboard. A first in history. This story offers an authentic reality adventure and experience for the audience while educating about the global impact of the river’s history.

Working theme of Gone Paddling: Caring for our natural resources is everyone’s responsibility and when we do, it benefits everyone.

Call to Action 1: Get involved. Wisconsinites worked hard to revitalize the river. Let’s again work together to protect the river. Conservation is a never ending job. Get involved, Go enjoy your waters. Love your water.

Call to Action 2: There is a global water crisis due to chronic overuse and misuse of limited freshwater resources. Like the formerly degraded Wisconsin River, there is hope. It's been done before. The sacrifices will initially hurt but the long term benefits will be well worth it. Take the leap and begin working together to protect and restore your freshwater resources.

Freshwater is the single most important resource on which we depend. Many other natural resources are linked through a fragile ecosystem which is often taken for granted. We rely on natural resources for invaluable ecosystem services, including food and water, control for climate and disease, and recreation. All too often we as citizens, business owners, communities, and governments around the world enjoy the services we receive but neglect the stewardship of our natural resources. The most common reason for this neglect is money. We often say the costs of changing our personal and business practices are too great. The return on investing in our natural resources is an investment in the future of our natural environment. This is a hard sell for investors concerned chiefly with immediate returns

The story of the Wisconsin River’s revitalization is a story about determination, collaboration, and success. As a community we took the chance and it paid off. Those paper mills that embraced the change are still in operation. They are not only surviving but thriving. Similarly, the municipalities that initially resisted the environmental regulations are now making more money on tourism than the ever could have expected. Protecting our environment is important. The story of the Wisconsin River demonstrates the environmental and economic case for working together. How those who had to make the hard decisions made the right decisions. It disproves the arguments industry and governments currently give for their failure to be good stewards of natural resources.

What kind of impact could we have if everyone knew that? If everyone knew that it was profitable to take care of our natural resources? If everyone knew there was proof of concept? We would reassure governments on all levels that the people they represent care about the environment. It would encourage industries around the world to make the hard decisions. The environmentally ethical decisions. The right decisions. The history of the Wisconsin River is proof that everyone can win when we choose to protect our natural resources.