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 27, 2013

A Paddler's Guide to the Streams and Lakes of the Black Hills (2013)

A comprehensive review of paddling opportunities in the Black Hills and on streams and rivers that flow out of that area though the center of the state is offered in this new publication by the Black Hills Paddlers, edited by J. Kelly Lane.  Profiled in this guidebook are 35 lakes in the Black Hills, most of them small lakes and ponds of less than 50 surface acres, some of them only an acre or two in area.  There are also, though, several larger lakes, including the Angostura and Belle Fourche reservoirs. Thirty three streams are identified and described that range from small and fast creeks to the larger waters of the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne rivers.

After a reference chart of the area lakes that provides a quick overview of summary characteristics of the lakes, a descriptive section follows with a narrative and photograph of each lake.  These descriptions are personalized to reflect the history of development, observations of the writer, and access information for potential visitors.  
Justin Herreman, of the Black Hills Paddlers Describing the Book

The guidebook shifts to flowing streams that range from creeks in the area to cruising down the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers. The Belle Fourche/Cheyenne River system is described in cruising segments that begin at the western ends of these rivers and move on to the confluence of the two rivers, continuing downstream in a northeasterly course past Cherry Creek and on to the Highway 63 bridge where the Cheyenne River intersects with the Missouri.

In addition to describing the lakes, creeks, and rivers, the book provides a wealth of information on safe paddling, best practice in dealing with landowners, essential equipment needed in kayaks and canoes, and tips on boat and park regulations.  All this material is presented in a very personalized style that heightens the sense of camaraderie among paddlers.

I found this to be a delightful book; it made me think about loading up my kayak or packing away my Folbot and heading west to the Hills to explore some of the lakes described.  Many years ago I lived in Ipswich, SD, where a local group of paddlers went on a long river cruise each spring.  During my three years living in that community, we went down the Belle Fourche River one spring and did the Cheyenne River in two segments over two springs. Reading the passages describing these two rivers sent me back to happy memories of those cruises in heavy aluminum canoes during the early 1970s.

I enthusiastically recommend this book.  It is available on Amazon for $34.99 at the following URL:


Kelly Lane said...

Thanks for your gracious words. There were more than 20 paddlers contributing to the book. it was a fun project. Nice to see you Saturday.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great feedback Jay! We appreciate it very much! Hopefully we see you on the water this summer!