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, June 17, 2012

SDCKA Water Sampling Project: Lake Alvin

For the past five years, the SDCKA has worked with Dakota Water Watch to chart water conditions and collect water samples from area lakes for analysis.  This work has contributed to establishing a base line and interval data regarding the quality of water in our waterways.

Over the years, the SDCKA as an organization has done this in Grass Lake, Diamond Lake, and Lake Alvin.  Individual members have also taken on sampling assignments in other waterways of the area. Yesterday, SDCKA returned to Lake Alvin with sixteen kayaks for this annual service project.

A facilitator from Dakota Water Watch provided the necessary training for the paddlers, demonstrated the equipment, and made team assignments.  Each team was assigned two sites where they were asked to record a variety of data regarding current conditions on the lake and to collect two samples of water from these assigned locations.

The teams were made up of two kayakers, one paddler to manage the equipment and the other to record the data.

The teams then moved out to assigned sites around the lake to make observations and to collect the water samples.

The skies were a bit threatening at 9:00 a.m. when the group gathered, but no bad weather developed.  There was a bit of wind down the lake, but nothing that impeded the collection of data.  As the day wore on, the weather improved markedly.

We spend about an hour gathering our samples. Dave Finck and I had the assignment for sample collection at the mouth of Nine Mile Creek.  After finishing our task, we then headed back to turn in the samples and then paddle north on the lake to meet those with the assignments at the greatest distance.

Dave and Mary Finck were gracious enough to bring along a grill, and Dave grilled up hotdogs for us.  There were also chips and bars – a nice treat on a Saturday morning.

With the Big Sioux River just across the highway from Lake Alvin, a cruise downstream had been organized from the access point along the Grandview Road to Klondike Mill.

For those interested in viewing the complete set of photographs of this event, please go to my Flickr account at the following URL:

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