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

SDCKA Annual Conference - January 2013

Outgoing SDCKA President Jarett Bies Opening the Conference

The Annual South Dakota Canoe/Kayak Conference was held on Saturday, January 26, at the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls.  Beginning at noon, eight sessions were presented to approximately 80 participants.  Included in these program segments were the following:  The Future of Blood Run; Game, Fish, and Parks Laws and Rights; a kayaking trip to the Apostle Islands, kayaking in big waters on the Missouri River; water rescue techniques used by the Sioux Falls Fire and Rescue teams; a review of a new publication by the Black Hills Paddlers along an example of a first aid kit for kayaks and canoes; a contrast between use of canoes and kayaks; and a preview of the 2013 South Dakota Kayak Challenge.
Dick Brown Outlining the new Good Earth State Park at Blood Run
In addition, a slate of candidates for the 2013 SDCKA Board of Directors was presented and voted upon by the membership attending the conference. 

GF&P Boating Law Administrator Brandon Gust 
An important side benefit to the conference was the opportunity for informal conversation and connection among this group of paddlers from across the state. These connections easily grow into friendships and shared experiences on future cruises with fellow paddling enthusiasts. 

Nancy Grassel, West River Paddler
Pat Wellner, Matt Story & Roger DeBates
Water Rescue Techniques, Sioux Falls Fire and Rescue Team
Kelly Lane & Justin Herreman, Black Hills Paddlers
Attending this conference is a signal that the depth of winter is passing and the possibility of paddling on area waterways is only a few weeks away.  A week ago, I stopped by Lake Alvin to check out the ice conditions.  Looking back, I recall a guest narrative on this blog from Steven Dahlmeier describing his first cruise on Lake Alvin even before the official arrival of spring. That cruise took place on March 19, 2007 ; if the “break-up” conditions this year mirrored those of that year, we would be about eight weeks away from a first cruise possibility on very cold waters.  

Lake Alvin in January 2013

Lake Alvin, March 19, 2007

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