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:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

SDCKA Wetlands Clean-Up

 The wetlands along the Big Sioux River extending out from the canoe launch site at 26th Street and Southeastern Avenue has been adopted by the South Dakota Canoe/Kayak Association for periodic clean-up.

The City of Sioux Falls expects a clean-up of the area at least twice a year, and tonight was the first occasion for the current year.  In the past, the SDCKA has done a cleaning project in the river itself, usually upstream from this point, and this partnership extends to the wetlands area along this segment of riverfront.

Eight members of the SDCKA gathered at 5:30 p.m. tonight to begin the clean-up. We fanned out along the banks and into the wetlands and woods adjacent to the river to gather liter.  With large garbage bags, we collected debris and created a large pile of trash and discarded materials for removal by city employees tomorrow.  

We joked about the collection of ticks that seemed likely as we moved out into the brush.  One member reminded us that we did not need to collect the ticks; one of the officers of the association said that the person with the largest number of ticks on his or her person would get a free membership next year.  Despite being out in the bush for over an hour, I did not find a single tick on me.  Up until the time we disbursed from the area, no one else had found one either.

Taking on a section of the riverfront that centers on a canoe launching site seems like a great fit for the SDCKA.  It is the sort of civic project that fits the goals of the association and focuses its energy on environmental improvement.  I enjoyed taking part in the effort tonight.

Activities of this sort not only accomplish a specific project, they also strengthen the sense of a common spirit that links members of the association.  Talk naturally turns to upcoming cruises and other paddling ventures.  This evening, there was discussion of an upcoming cruise on Split Rock Creek and the SD Kayak Challenge that takes place in two weeks on the Missouri River. We all get to know each other better through these shared activities.

See full set of photographs of the clean-up at:

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