Our History

St. Croix Recreation is honored to have served Minnesota’s Park & Recreation teams for over FORTY years!  Johnnie Johnsen, a familiar face to many in the industry, founded St. Croix Recreation from his home in Stillwater, Minn. in 1981. Johnnie came to our great state from California where he earned a college degree in Recreation Management. He started the company from his basement and was greatly supported by his growing family while he owned and operated the business, building the brand you know today.

Outside of representing great products, Johnnie built his company around personal interactions and positive experiences. It was of the utmost importance to him to build a reputation that was dependable but also FUN! Recreation should be based on fun and he brought that to every phone call, playground build and industry event that he participated in. Who hasn’t run into him at a tradeshow and been given a big hug? While people have come and gone, the company culture continues to be of top importance of the company ethos.

Early in the company’s tenure, he was joined by Michael Basich who had years of install experience, and the company is lucky to still work with him today. In 2014, Johnnie transferred the position of President to his oldest son, Christopher Johnsen, who brought his wife, Hannah, into the business in 2015. Keegan Hartwick joined the team in 2019 and Johnnie continues to be an active member of St. Croix Recreation.

Front (l to r): Christopher Johnsen, Johnnie Johnsen, Mike Basich Back (l to r): Keegan Hartwick, Hannah Johnsen;

Throughout the years, St. Croix Recreation has worked in all corners of the state of Minnesota, large & small towns and all types of customers. We are proud to continue to offer a variety of park & commercial playground equipment lines to the great state of Minnesota and hope to continue to do so for another 40 years! As Christopher and Hannah are currently expecting their third child, they have great hope to keep this a true family-business for generations to come.

Johnnie Johnsen on a call in the
downtown Stillwater office, 1988

Mike Basich helps a volunteer install a
playground, 1997

Johnnie, Hannah, and Christopher at
the 2016 NRPA Conference