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, January 25, 2009

SDCA Annual Conference

South Dakota Canoe Association Annual Conference
(The Spirit Sail attached to Jay Heath's Kayak)

The SDCA held its annual conference on Saturday, January 25, 2009, at the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls. The program featured a number of South Dakota paddlers who presented topics including area paddling opportunities, kayaking the big waters of lakes in the Brookings area and Lake Superior, cruising on the Missouri River in the Pierre area, tripping to the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota, paddle construction, and a 42-day adventure through the Northwest Territories of Canada along rivers and lakes to the Arctic Ocean.
(Rick Johns, SDCA Board Member representing building, demonstrating kayak paddle construction)

(Dick Davidson, SDCA Board Member and legendary expedition canoe tripper, presenting Arctic adventures)

(Mary Finck, SDCA Board Member representing conservation)

While paddling in the Sioux Falls area is perhaps 8 weeks off, some of the members related their on-water experiences on the Missouri River that took place in the Pierre area just this month. In any event, the audience considered the upcoming paddling possibilities that are just over the horizon. The SDCA will be sponsoring a pool session at the Sioux Falls YWCA on Sunday, February 1, to help paddlers practice a wet-exit from kayaks, assisted and self-rescue techniques, and rolling. Those interested in attending should contact Jarett Bies, and information can be found on the SDCA website: Information on joining the SDCA to become part of the paddling network in South Dakota is also found on the website.

(Pat Wellner's dog Scruffy, a long-time kayak partner on Missouri River cruises celebrated during Pat's presentation at the conference)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

SDCA Annual Conference - January 24, 2009


Each year the SDCA presents a conference for area paddlers and those interested in self-propelled water travel. This gathering is held at the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls, located between 49th and 57th Streets in the area near the Empire Mall. You can easily get directions to the Outdoor Campus by accessing one of the Internet mapping programs. At this conference, we will hear from our own paddlers as they share their unique experiences. The presentations will include a review of area waterways, a trip to the BWCA in northern Minnesota, building paddles, and a chance to vicariously travel along with Dick Davidson on one of his legendary canoe trips to Arctic waters. As we gather at the Outdoor Campus, we will all be anticipating early paddling opportunities that will be only two months away. We will be in the depth of winter, but spring will be in all our minds as we look at slides and listen to our colleagues offer their slant on our common interest of kayaking and canoeing.

I hope to meet many of you on Saturday afternoon, January 24, 2009!

12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
The Outdoor Campus
4500 S. Oxbow Ave
Sioux Falls, S.D.

12:00 Welcome from Gene Preston, President SDCA

12:10 Kayaking in Big Waters North of Sioux Falls, Jarett Bies

12:40 Constructing paddles, Rick Johns

1:10 An Arctic Canoe Adventure, Dick Davidson

1:50 Break

2:05 Kayaking the Missouri, Pat Wellner (Pirates of the Missouri)

2:35 Canoeing the Boundary Waters (BWCA), Richard Jacobson

3:05 Total Fitness and Having Fun, Ed and Kay Hoffman

3:35 Business Meeting – election of officers for the coming year

This conference is open for anyone interested in canoeing or kayaking. The presentations will be focused upon paddling opportunities and experiences, and the presenters will be members of the SDCA with significant experience in area waters. This is an opportunity to network and establish links with paddlers from the area. There is no admission charge for the conference.