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:

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Water Sampling Project at Lake Alvin

Over the past few years, members of the South Dakota Canoe/Kayak Association have assisted Dakota Water Watch with a water-sampling project of area lakes. This is an effort to develop a base line and interval data to record trends in our area waterways. This year, we gathered at Lake Alvin to receive directions from the Dakota Water Watch representative, and about five teams set out in kayaks to predetermined locations around the lake to record observations and take water samples for laboratory analysis.
We recorded observations regarding visible and actual depth of the water, clarity, water temperature, and color. In addition, we made meteorology observations of conditions that might have an impact upon our data. We also collected samples of water at our assigned sites that were bagged and taken for laboratory analysis.
A water sampling activity undertaken by a fleet of kayaks that spreads out over the lake surface doesn’t take long. Most participants also get in a little bit of a cruise as well.
As my partner and I set out, we came across two young guys in an inflatable kayak. The older of the two told me that he bought the kayak recently at a rummage sale in Harrisburg for $60, including the paddles. They were having a great time fishing; I noticed that their anchor was a small bar bell weight secured by a rope. The guy who bought the boat told me that it was deflated at the rummage sale, but he was assured that it held air, and it did. This was their second cruise. So, for a $60 investment, they are able to go out on area waterways. As I looked at the high freeboard of the inflatable, though, I knew that it would be tough to deal with windy conditions.

The day continued at Lake Alvin with the annual canoe/kayak fair where people could try out various boats. It was a great opportunity for people who wanted to give kayaking a low risk try. This year, however, I was not able to stay for the fair. There were, however, many boats available and plenty of skilled SDCKA members to serve as coaches.

1 comment:

Danny said...

I've been running the same Sea Eagle 330 Kayak for years now. I've been very happy with it as it has taken my anywhere I point it. About the only thing that traditional paddlers might not like about an inflatable is that they don't track very well and require a lot of corrections as you float. Other than that, I love mine.