MAY, With Iowa Water Trails Enjoying Great Weather

The new, green boat registration decals are now required–the old ones expired April 30. If you haven’t already “gone green” we encourage you to apply those new decals, good through April 30, 2019.

The IWTA Website Events Calendar now includes over 140 entries for 2016–on-water & off-water events, extended trips, activities, meetings, conferences, holidays, observances, full moon & meteor shower dates, holidays, & observances. We look forward to adding more.

Hazard and hypothermia awareness, proper training, a PFD, necessary gear, a paddle plan, and the buddy system are important for paddling at any time of the year. At this time of year we also need to be aware of turkey hunters. The Iowa DNR encourages outdoor users, including mushroom hunters, paddlers, anglers, hikers, and others heading into the woods during spring turkey season to “avoid wearing patriotic colors – red, white and blue – as these colors are shared by gobblers. Instead, wear blaze orange to be recognizable to hunters.”

Keep your IWTA Newsletter relevant–keep your info coming. Contact us at iowawta@gmail.com

APRIL, and 2016 WT Events are Blooming!

Over 140 entries for 2016–on-water & off-water events, extended trips, activities, meetings, conferences, holidays, observances, full moon & meteor shower dates, holidays, observances–are now available in the Events Calendar on this IWTA Website. Whether you’re trying to find something to do or trying to avoid conflicts as you make your own event plans, we hope you find the IWTA Events Calendar to be a useful tool.  Just click on “Events” above.

We know that many additional floats, training sessions, cleanups, etc. are still “firming-up” dates and plans, so we look forward to receiving and posting your event info as soon as possible. Contact us at  iowawta@gmail.com

Quick Checklist for April:
Remember–Chickadee Checkoff (Fish & Wildlife Fund).
Remember–Iowa boat registration renewals are due Apr 30.
Remember–spring temperatures present the risk of hypothermia. Proper training, a PFD, necessary gear, a paddle plan, and the buddy system are important for paddling at any time of the year. We encourage you to get out there, but be careful.

We were very pleased by the number of folks at the recent IEC “Lobby Day at the Capitol” who enjoy the IWTA Newsletter. Those comments help keep us motivated, but your flow of information makes the IWTA Newsletter and this website relevant, so please keep it coming.

MARCH, & Spring Brings More Events & Activities

The March IWTA Newsletter includes numerous events and announcements relating to Water Trails, watersheds, and the folks who care about our Iowa waterways. Whether you want to learn about, advocate for, or paddle through our waterways, we hope you find some items of interest as we transition from winter to spring. The next paddler shows will be Canoecopia March 11-13 in Madison, WI, followed by the renamed April 2 Outdoor Adventure Fest in Waterloo. Consult the website Events Calendar for these and other opportunities. Access Current and Recent IWTA Newsletters: https://tinyurl.com/IWTA-News-Archive

Astronomical spring begins on March 19, and while we may start experiencing warmer air temperatures, water temperatures will continue to present the risk of hypothermia. Proper training, a PFD, necessary gear, a float plan, and the buddy system are especially important for winter paddling. Be careful out there.

FEBRUARY, and the “Show Season” continues.

The “Show Season” continues, with more indoor events of interest to Water Trails supporters, paddlers, and other outdoorsy folks. Next up is the Feb 5-7 Paddle & Pedal Expo in Indianola, then a new Feb 7 Winter Water Fun Fest in Camanche, followed by the renamed Apr 2 Outdoor Adventure Fest in Waterloo /Cedar Falls. We encourage you to support these events and their organizers, learn about trips/gear/skills, and spend time with folks who share your interests.

The February IWTA Newsletter includes two feature articles–one about an innovative program working with Boy Scout and Girl Scout volunteers, and another about the green decals due on many boats by April 30. We hope that you find these articles to be helpful. Access Current and Recent IWTA Newsletters: https://tinyurl.com/IWTA-News-Archive

It is time to renew memberships in the paddling, photography, and environmental or advocacy groups which rely on our support. And remember the “Chickadee Checkoff”—the “Fish and Wildlife Fund” line–on your Iowa State Income Tax form.

Put simply, it’s winter in Iowa , and hypothermia is a very real risk. Proper training, necessary gear, a paddle plan, and the buddy system are especially important for winter paddling. Be careful out there.

JANUARY, the start of “Show Season”–indoor events of interest to Water Trails supporters, paddlers, and other outdoorsy folks.

Happy New Year! to our 1200+ readers, and best wishes for an enjoyable and safe 2016. Your info and support makes the IWTA Newsletter relevant, so please make a resolution to keep it coming.

It’s January, the start of “Show Season”–indoor events of interest to Water Trails supporters, paddlers, and other outdoorsy folks. The usual Iowa events kick off with the Jan 16 ICNC Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids, followed by the Feb 5-7 Paddle & Pedal Expo in Indianola, a new Feb 7 Winter Water Fun Fest in Camanche, and the renamed Apr 2 Outdoor Adventure Fest in Waterloo/Cedar Falls. We encourage you to support these events and their organizers, learn about trips/gear/skills, and spend time with folks who share your interests.

We’d also like to remind you that January is the traditional time to renew your memberships in the paddling, photography, and environmental or advocacy groups which rely on our support.

Mother Nature has shared some unusually warm weather through the latter part of 2015, but we seem to be returning to “normal winter Iowa.” In either case, hypothermia is still a very real risk, and ice conditions remain “iffy” across the state. The prerequisites of proper training, necessary gear, a paddle plan, and the buddy system are especially important for winter paddling. Cold weather, cold water paddling is a unique challenge and experience, but the risks must be managed. Be careful out there.

If you have just discovered our website, we encourage you to share in the fun and learning of Water Trail events, ideas, experiences, & more, by subscribing to the free, monthly email IWTA Newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/IWTASubscribe

Access Current and Recent IWTA Newsletters: https://tinyurl.com/IWTA-News-Archive

We continue to welcome info and dates for 2016 events. Please contact us with your ideas, questions, concerns, or corrections: iowawta@gmail.com

DECEMBER, time to embrace the reality of winter.

Maybe it’s time to drop the optimism about expecting a few more warm days, and face the reality that it’s December in Iowa? The prerequisites of proper training, necessary gear, a paddle plan, and the buddy system are especially important for winter paddling. Cold weather, cold water paddling is a unique challenge and experience, but the risks must be managed. Be careful out there.

We’re pleased to report that during the Nov 13 Cedar River Watershed Coalition Meeting in Cedar Falls, your IWTA Newsletter received numerous compliments regarding our efforts to disseminate information about “all things river” throughout the state. There are apparently quite a few newsletter readers in that group, and we likely added a few more.

The IWTA moves toward the end of another successful year with well over 1200 IWTA Newsletter subscribers. With a little help from existing readers–forwarding, sharing, and recommending–we could soon hit the 1300 mark.

If you have just discovered our website, we encourage you to share in the fun and learning of Water Trail events, ideas, experiences, & more, by subscribing to the free, monthly email IWTA Newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/IWTASubscribe    Access Current and Recent IWTA Newsletters: https://tinyurl.com/IWTA-News-Archive

We continue to welcome info and dates for 2016 events. Please contact us with your ideas, questions, concerns, or corrections:   iowawta@gmail.com

NOVEMBER, the Other Transition Month

It’s November in Iowa, so yes, we’re slipping toward winter, but we will still have some warm days. November, like March, is a “transition month,” offering a mix of warm sunshine, rain and cold, clear and dry, and certainly the possibility of snow flakes. It’s just a matter of choosing the right day for the right activity.

Photographers can still find pockets of fall color, or a mixture of color and black and white. Mother nature reveals more of our topography and geological features, and animals may become more visible.

At this time of year, there isn’t much in the way of WT paddling events on the events calendar, but there are a number of conferences and workshops of interest to our readers. We would particularly like to publicize any archaeology, history, wildlife, or other indoor programs you are scheduling, especially those which might relate to Iowa Water Trails.

For a small percentage of paddlers, those properly prepared with the necessary gear and skills, the paddling season continues year round. If you want to learn more about how to safely paddle when icicles are forming on your paddle, we recommend contacting paddle shops (such as CanoeSports Outfitters or CrawDaddy Outdoors) or the more experienced paddlers within organized groups (Central Iowa Paddlers, Skunk River Paddlers, Cedar Valley Paddlers). While not for everyone, the challenge of cold weather or winter paddling provides special experiences in a unique environment, and another way to enjoy our Iowa WTs.

We continue to welcome your 2015 event reports, even as we gather events & dates for 2016. Please contact us with your ideas, questions, or concerns: iowawta@gmail.com

If you have just discovered our website, we encourage you to share in the fun and learning of Water Trail events, ideas, experiences, & more, by subscribing to the free, monthly email IWTA Newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/IWTASubscribe

Access Current and Recent IWTA Newsletters: https://tinyurl.com/IWTA-News-Archive

OCTOBER, a month of shorter days and cooler temperatures, as Mother Nature turns to her palette of bright earth tones.

October is a month of shorter days and cooler temperatures, as Mother Nature turns to her palette of bright earth tones. Whether you’re visiting a Water Trail by land or water, it’s definitely a time to remember you camera. For most paddlers, their season will be drawing to a close. For some of us, it’s the time of year when we are most aware of change, a time for contemplation and reflection. And for many of us, it’s time to promise ourselves to get out on WTs more often next year.
Bring your camera!

The busy events calendar continues, with a variety of conferences, and several day paddling trips scheduled well into October.

Paddler groups are advocating for dry bags of backup clothing, avoidance of cotton fabric, carrying extra snacks, and other cool air and water safety procedures (true cold-weather paddling will require more). We ask you all to join them in spreading the word, and being alert on the water for people who need assistance. Please be careful out there! Remember to wear your PFD, paddle with others, know your capabilities, and file a float plan.

We send our thanks to those who shared reports on their 2015 events in this issue. We encourage others to submit additional event reports for inclusion over the next couple of months.
Toot your horn!

We do our best to include all corrections, cancellations, and reschedules ASAP in our newsletters and other materials, but that’s only possible with your help. Please contact us with your further additions or corrections:
iowawta@gmail.com

SEPTEMBER, and We’re Contemplating All the Water Trailing We Intended To Do.

The occasional few days of cooler weather reminds procrastinators that Iowa’s summer season is drawing to a close. Fortunately, the coming fall colors will provide one of the most enjoyable times of the year to visit our Iowa Water Trails.

Todd Robertson, Glenn Harmon, and John Wenck, instructors in the Iowa DNR Canoe and Kayak Classes, recently updated their canoe instructor certifications for another 4 years. They and several others demonstrated their paddling and safety skills during a weekend session on the Winnebago and Shell Rock rivers. We encourage paddlers at all levels to include skills development in the mix with recreation, fishing, photography, adventure, or just having fun on the water. Whether it’s taking some time to focus on improving your strokes, participating in an organized class, joining in winter pool sessions, learning basic rescue techniques, or attending spring refreshers, you will become a more efficient, confident, and safer paddler. You will also find yourself becoming a greater asset to your paddling group.

The busy calendar continues, with a variety of day paddling trips, cleanups, training sessions, family events, and volunteer opportunities. And note that WT paddling events are scheduled well into October.

Iowa weather seems to include one surprise after another, and 9 inches of rain in a watershed both is a surprise, and can cause additional surprises on area streams. As always — Please be careful out there! Remember to wear your PFD, paddle with others, know your capabilities, and file a float plan.

Become one of the over 1200 subscribers who share an interest in enjoying, developing, and protecting our Iowa Water Trails.  Subscribe to the free, monthly email IWTA Newsletter at: https://tinyurl.com/IWTASubscribe          Did we mention that it’s FREE?!