This blog is designed to highlight the paddling opportunities within South Dakota, mainly within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls. While Sioux Falls is far from the adventure of coastal regions, there is a certain satisfaction in utilizing the available waterways to observe weather, water conditions, and the landscape along the shoreline. In addition, there is a wealth of animal life on the waters of small South Dakota lakes, rivers, and creeks, including geese, ducks, pelicans, great blue heron, egrets, hawks, owls, perching birds, deer, raccoons, and beaver. Eagles, fox, and coyote are also sometimes spotted.

The sites described are places where I have kayaked over the past few years, mostly in South Dakota but sometimes including locations in Iowa and Minnesota. One of the best sources of information on the accessibility of small lakes is the South Dakota Atlas and Gazetteer, the large map book of South Dakota. Lakes with a public access are generally identified by a boat symbol marking the location of a launching site on public land.

You will notice the menu of paddling locations on the right side of the blog. Each of the postings is linked to one of the areas, and my intention is to provide a continuing review of the places where I paddle. Perhaps these narratives will help readers select waterways of interest to them. Please feel free to offer a comment regarding any of my postings; I would welcome the dialog.

I also maintain a companion blog that describes hiking opportunities within the Sioux Falls area. You can access that blog at:

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Lake Alvin Canoe/Kayak Fair

The annual SDCA sponsored canoe/kayak fair at Lake Alvin was held today under heavy overcast, temperatures in the low 50s, a chilly wind, and intermittent sprinkles. A group of about a dozen SDCA members gathered to offer an opportunity for novice paddlers to try out a variety of boats. There were some who had never been in a kayak and others with very limited experience.
SDCA members got people set up in a boat, helped them launch, and then coached them from alongside as they moved out onto the water. The day was gray with moderate wind, but the conditions did not seem to offer any impediment to those eager to try out a kayak.
The first SDCA members arrived about 11:00 a.m. and there were still people on the water at 2:45 p.m. Some of the novice paddlers set out in a tandem kayak and others stuck to single kayaks.
This was also a time for SDCA members to try out various boats, and also a time to just visit with each other. The members were able to check out various ways to transport kayaks, from a special build trailer to an ingenious pickup truck platform. A group of five kayaks went up Nine-Mile Creek to laugh it up together as they continued on up to the final blockage on the inlet.
(Photo by Jarett Bies)
I rigged up my Spirit sail and cruised down wind, paddled back up a ways, and then sailed back again. My sail rig will operate up to about 45 degrees off the wind through shifting the sail.
(Photo by Jarett Bies)
Jarett Bies and I served as beachmasters for this event, and other members served as coaches. We wondered about attendance with weather conditions as they were, but the turn out was good. People came and left at different times, but there were always more than a dozen people at the site.
The next SDCA cruise is on June 20 in Pierre, and those who are interested and able to attend should check out Pat Wellner’s blog at Pirates of the Missouri: Pat has a wealth of experience on the Missouri in the Pierre area, and he has a nice route planned. If you plan on attending the event, I suggest that you get in touch with him.

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