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 30, 2011

SDCKA Annual Winter Conference - 2011

The South Dakota Canoe/Kayak Association (SDCKA) annual winter conference was held at the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls yesterday afternoon, Saturday, January 29. The group gathered for four hours of programming and fellowship in anticipation of paddling activities for the upcoming season. The first SDCKA sponsored event for this year will be pool training in managing a wet exit or rolling to be held at the YWCA swimming pool in Sioux Falls on Sunday, February 13. This is an event for SDCKA members, and any readers interested in membership and/or participating in this training event should connect with the club officers through the SDCKA blog ( The SDCKA blog is the major communication link for those interested in paddling within our area. Upcoming events are described, and follow-up information for sessions presented at the conference is presented on the blog.
The conference began with a review by Steven Dahlmeier, president of the SDCKA, of the events sponsored by the SDCKA over the past year, including cruises, public service, safety and training, and the South Dakota Kayak Challenge.
Included in the presentations at the conference was a session on paddling with children offered by Cory Diedrich, one of the SDCKA Board of Directors members. Jarett Bies, the SDCKA vice president, presented a harrowing tale of how things can go wrong on the Missouri River when caught up in high winds and waves. Information sessions of interest to area paddlers were offered by officials of the City of Sioux Falls, the National Park Service, and the East Dakota Water Development District.
(Photo by Jarett Bies)
Two members of the Black Hills Paddlers club presented a session on the thrill of white water kayaking and the safety concerns associated with that exciting aspect of paddling.
A slate of 15 officers was presented and elected to serve the organization over the next year. Steven Dahlmeier was continued into his second year as president, and Jarett Bies will also continue into his second year as vice president.

I urge area paddlers to strongly consider affiliating with the SDCKA as a member. Membership offers the chance to participate with others in the many cruises and events sponsored by the club and to share in the organization. The cost of membership is only $10.00, and information on joining is available on the SDCKA blog.