Monday, March 31, 2008

Canoe rentals available for Earth Day

SDCA member ShaRon Kelly will have some canoes available for rent at the event, but since he has only five boats, if you need one, you might want to reserve sooner versus later.

Info on the boats:

Five total
Three 14-foot Leisure Life canoes
Two 15-foot Buffalo canoes
Each weighs 50 pounds and can seat two adults
Each rental comes with paddle and flotation device

Rentals are $60 per boat; renters must sign a rental wavier.
Rental includes transportation of boats to the regatta, just show up, pay, and paddle.

To rent, call ShaRon at (605) 323-8053 or (605) 428-6017. Leave message and return phone number.


River & Stream Gages

Want to check out the lastest river levels in South Dakota? Check out the links below.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fresh images of Flandreau sites

Laura and I drove to Flandreau Saturday evening to check on the river. As the images show, there's still ice, but there's plenty of moving water! That's good news. I hope these photos serve as a nice preview for folks unfamiliar with the river here.

There are rapids just below the start of this April 19 cruise, but they should add fun, not fear, to our cruise at 11 a.m. April 19.

This photo shows the easy-access path that one would take to the put-in from the oval lot on the N side of the bridge.

The starting point is fine, in fact we found we have two possible starting points. We should be able to launch boats from both sides of the river. The left/first photo here is from the north side looking towards the powwow grounds, the second is from the grounds looking back at the northside put-in.

There's another shot of the put-in spot, too, that log is a good visual key to the starting point.

The drive from the top to bottom is literally five minutes, we timed it, and we found this nice take-out spot in the park at the end point. Note the "drive right up" nature of the exit point. (And the ice. Thankfully we're not doing this trip today, no?)
I checked the USGS site and they did not have water temp information for the BSR in Flandreau, but here's to hoping the ice will melt enough to make this trip a hoot. But not enough to flood things out.

I'll be posting again soon with some links to the USGS and NOAA sites, along with some gear guide information. Remember, friends, it's not going to be dangerous, but it will be cold, so let's all get dry bags and spare clothes today so we know we'll have them in three weeks! Jarett

Friday, March 21, 2008

Flandreau Earth Day cruise set for April 19

Happy Easter weekend to all paddlers! Our official first event, the Earth Day cruise, is set and here are all the details, images, and contacts you will need to take part.

What: An Earth Day cruise, hosted by the South Dakota Canoe Association, the Sierra Club, and the Outdoor Women of South Dakota.

When: 11 a.m. April 19, 2008 (Saturday)

Where: Starts at the parking lot north of the powwow grounds, about one mile north of Flandreau on Highway 13; ends at the Flandreau City Park, about one mile east of the city.

Cost: A shuttle bus service is available if we need it. The cost is $10 for those who want to use the bus. To register, e-mail Deb McIntyre at

Here's an overview map. Remember, you can click on any image in our blog to see a larger version:

Close-ups of the starting and ending points are below. Feel free to send questions to me at my e-mail,, or post questions to the blog.

With a little luck, we'll get out on the water in the next couple of weeks and add more real-deal intel on the route.

Bies, J.C.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How cool!

Steve found this cool site and set it up for our club, so shop it up, ya'll.

It's a spot where one could purchase shirts and sweatshirts with our SDCA logo.

T-shirts not required for cruises, he said, winking.


Sights set on May 10: Missouri River cruise

The SDCA will host a cruise at 1 p.m. May 10, 2008, on the Missouri River from the Myron Grove Recreation Area downstream.

Here is a look at the area where the cruise will go down:

Rick Johns of the SDCA will host the event, and he's a Vermillion native and familiar with the area. He offered these keys on the route above:

* The put-in spot is top-notch. Plenty of room for unloading and shuttle driving. It is about nine miles from Vermillion.
* As proposed above, the route could take as long as five hours.
* Paddlers who want a shorter cruise can take out at Clay County Park. That would cut the trip almost in half. The park is about three miles west of Vermillion.
* The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will raise the water level May 10. The water may be higher when this cruise takes place than it would be before the "spring change."

Rick said the water level change will only play a role in one way: the historic ship that's lodged on the river bottom (on our route) may not be visible, or as visible, as it would be were the water lower.

But we'll have Professor L. E. Bradley, program director and chair of the anthropology department at the University of South Dakota, along with us, and he will share insights on the area. If the river cooperates, he'll tell us paddlers who take part more about the wreck, and the region.

Back to the proposed route. Here is a close up of put-in area. (I can't stress enough how useful Google Maps, Google Earth, and Mapquest can be in locating information paddlers can use.)

Here's a look at the Nebraska-side take-out. Remember, this is proposed, we don't want anyone considering this cruise to feel they will have to make a five-hour paddle. But a reminder, Rick said this could be five hours.

The more who want to come, the merrier! We'll probably set up a meeting point in Vermillion. Then we'll caravan out to the starting point they call "High Lines." So stop back for information on that.

As Steve's last post showed, the new Prairie Paddler newsletter is out, it is both in the mail and here on our blog.

More information on the May 10 trip is on the way, but feel free to e-mail me if you have questions. If you're familiar with this area, weigh in on the route length and such if you feel like it.


Jarett C. Bies

Prairie Paddler: Spring 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lake Profile: Grass Lake

Grass Lake is a beautiful body of water in close proximity to Sioux Falls. At just 15 miles away, it is great for an after work paddle.

SDCA board member Jay Heath introduced me to this vast lake last year (via his website), and I have visited four times since.

Pelicans, geese, turtles and many other creatures call this lake home.

The lack of a loading ramp makes this the lake perfect location for paddlers who do not want to be disrupted by an outboard motor.

I encourage you to visit - enjoy!


The waterways need us, too

The conservation chair for the SDCKA board, Mary Finck, has collected information for paddlers - see, we're valuable - and this time the rivers and lakes need us.

Volunteers are needed to collect sample data on waterways in East River, S.D.

As Mary reports,
Dakota Water Watch is looking for volunteers to monitor lakes and rivers for bacteria, transparency, and temperature. Volunteers would collect samples once a month from April to October, plus after storms.

Mary said the volunteers get to choose the waterways they monitor, so someone like Rick in Vermillion would not have to drive up to Dells to take a sample. In many ways, the program is a two-birds/one stone idea: you're already planning to paddle, why not collect some important info while you're at it?

There's a two-hour training session for volunteers, and Mary said Jeanne Fromm, the p
roject manager from East Dakota Water Development District, is happy to meet with folks to get them ready to collect samples.

Of course, the SDCKA might seek to have a meeting with Fromm so a larger group can come out for one session and get their knowledge. But for those who want to get cracking on this, Fromm's available via e-mail at, or you can call her at 605-688-6611.

Bieso, SDCKA

They seek our assistance

Howdy friends,

The Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls will host a series of beginners' paddling classes. Each is "free-standing" meaning there will be new paddlers at each one.

The staff there has asked for SDCKA members to assist at these events, covering safety, paddling strokes, canoe/kayak differences, turning, and the like.

The dates and times include

  • Family paddling, 10 a.m.-noon June 21 (Saturday)
  • Paddling basics, 1-3 p.m. June 21
  • Family paddling, 1-3 p.m. July 12, (Saturday)
  • Family paddling, 6-8 p.m. July 17, (Thursday)
  • Family paddling, 6-8 p.m. Aug. 5, (Tuesday)

All the classes will be held at the Outdoor Campus pond, and the ODC is at 4500 S. Oxbow Ave., Sioux Falls.

Their pond is small so they won't need all that many folks at each class. But it might be a good way to help the public get into paddling, do a bit of cross-promo perhaps. They are seeking class sizes of about 20-25 per class, the family ones will have kids as young as 7 years old.

Let me know if you want to help on a certain date. I will coordinate things with the chap who is hosting these classes. If nothing else, it'll be a nice excuse to get a boat out on a weeknight this summer!

Also, look for a post on the Old Courthouse Museum's planned BSR trip later today, and one on the water sampling program, too.

Bieso, SDCKA

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Asked for, now on the Blog!

At the SDCKA board meeting, people asked about a forum for short-notice cruises. Our blog has the aforementioned forum now. It will store "tags" of people seeking joiners for trips. All you need is an e-mail address. It works and hopefully it will help get people out on the water.


Our new connection in Pierre

As mentioned in the last post, the crew in Pierre, who paddle Lake Oahe (shown in picture in full winter whitecap mode above the dam) and other waters, are happy to show a greenhorn around the Missouri River in Sodak's capital. Since I had a picture of Oahe, thought I would mention again this new connection.

Visit their site at

In addition to the big waters of Oahe, which stretch from Pierre back into Nodak, this group is a hop and a skip from the Cheyenne and White rivers. Here's to hoping we'll connect SDCKA members with the Pierre Kayak Club this year.

John mentioned the Earth Day paddle as an event he comes to the Big Sioux for - sorry, still no word from the Sierra Club on their plans. Soon as I get some word, we'll make those April plans, friends.

We are finalizing the route and dates for the SDCKA's "North of Flandreau" April cruise, too.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Talking pelicans and Pierre

March is here, and so are new plans and discoveries, thanks to the blog.

John from Pierre wrote, mentioning a group of paddlers in Pierre. They're lucky, as they are already/still paddling on the Missouri River.

John mentioned his group is online at

They are always looking to host paddlers less familiar with the waters around the capital city.

Myself, I'm dialing in information on lakes nearby my home in Elkton. I found this Marsh Lake, about two hours from here, so about three hours from Sioux Falls:

The cool thing is an organized group could go there, see the Minnesota River headwaters, then drive to the southeastern-most part of Marsh Lake. From there, the river goes through miles of marsh and birdlife and continues down for ... hours, days, weeks, it looks like.

I'm adding it to my personal list, but if anyone has information on that area, do share.