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:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Paddling in the Sioux Falls Area for People Without a Kayak

I recently became a volunteer with the Outdoor Campus, a South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks facility located in Sioux Falls, to work especially with paddling classes. My first assignment was to assist with a family paddling event that took place at Family Lake, west on 12th Street near the intersection of 12th Street and the Tea/Ellis Road.  The Outdoor Campus has about 16 single kayaks and a couple of tandem kayaks plus several canoes, and these craft were available for families to take out on the lake for nearly two hours of paddling.  Paddles and lifejackets were also provided by the Outdoor Campus.  This activity is free of any charge!

Some instruction was offered to those who were new to paddling, and I served as a safety coach out on the water to provide limited instruction, encouragement, and to be of assistance if needed.

This sort of activity is offered both for young people and for families on a regular basis.  One of the Outdoor Campus naturalists is in overall charge of these activities.  Although we were on Family Lake for this session, the paddling opportunities are more typically held at the large pond beyond the Outdoor Campus building at 4500 S. Oxbow Ave. in Sioux Falls.  There are sometimes river trips on the Big Sioux River as well.

I was quite impressed with this opportunity made available by the Department of Game, Fish, and Parks through the Outdoor Campus.  People have asked me how they might take their child kayaking or how they might try out the sport, even though they have no kayak.  I did not know about this service, but I want to pass along the information to those who would like to get out on the water but have no boat available.

So, if you want to take advantage of this opportunity, you might give the Outdoor Campus people a call at 605-362-2777 or contact them through their web site at the following URL:

1 comment:

Patricia from Omaha said...

Several days in advance, I called the campus to arrange an orientation for my sister and her children (9,11 and 13)during a campout at Palisades. Derek was very kind to schedule an hour, and Cody, our instructor, did a wonderful job of teaching and encouraging us. It was a fun; the Outdoor Campus is a great place with terrific staff.