Author Archives: greggpaddle

July Brings a Caution, Variable Weather, Plus “Interactive Iowa Paddling Map Tips”

CAUTION: Stay Clear of South Skunk River Near Hannums Mill Dam; Portage Around Dam Has Washed Out!  Read the details in the July 1 IWTA Newsletter in our Newsletter Archive.

Learn some “Interactive Iowa Paddling Map Tips” in the most recent “SPECIAL” IWTA Email in the News archive The interactive map was recently updated, and these tips will get you started using the new features.

It’s July in Iowa, and the Water Trails are calling. Could there be a better time to take a break and treat yourself to some all-natural stress relief?

Mother Nature is giving us an interesting mixture of heavy-but-scattered storms, resulting in an interesting mixture of high/low water levels, standing water, and some spots in the state indicating drought! Water levels in the Iowa Great Lakes are over two feet above crest, topping docks, damaging shorelines, causing officials to issue a 600 ft no wake zone to minimize erosion and property damage.

Some folks believe that the name “Iowa” is derived from an Indian term for “beautiful land.” Some suspect that it actually meant “variable weather.”

Plan ahead, check river gages, paddle with a partner(s), use proper gear, use common sense, enjoy yourself.

June, Water Trails Calling, Kids and Life Jackets

We noticed that it has been 10 years since Iowa implemented its requirement that children under age 13 must WEAR a life jacket while underway on a recreational vessel. When preparing to go out on a vessel, first check that the legally required equipment is on board.

  • All vessels must have at least one USCG-approved wearable Type I, II, III, or V life jacket for each person on board. In addition to the above requirement, one USCG-approved throwable Type IV flotation device must be on board vessels 16 feet or longer except canoes or kayaks.
  • Children Must Wear Life Jackets. While underway on a recreational vessel on any Iowa waters, a child under 13 years old must wear a USCG-approved life jacket unless the child is in an enclosed cabin or below deck or is a passenger on a commercial vessel with a capacity of 25 people or more.
  • Life jackets must have a legible USCG approval tag and be  in good & servicable condition, readily accessible, & of the proper size for the intended wearer.

It’s June in Iowa, and our Water Trails are calling (as water levels allow). Could there be a better time to treat yourself to some all-natural stress reliever?  The second-half-of-June calendar is full of WT-related events and activities, with plenty more scheduled throughout the summer. Check out our most recent IWTA Newsletter and the IWTA Events Calendar.

May is Great for Paddling, but Watch for Bridge Construction Hazards

Please check the May Mid Mo Newsletter for info re two specific river locations which paddlers should avoid due to bridge construction, debris, and temporary dams. Iowa has a lot of bridges, and a lot of bridge projects in the works, by all levels of government. If in doubt, we suggest that you check your route by vehicle, or contact the appropriate county conservation office. If you learn of additional such situations, please forward them, and we will include the info in a future IWTA Newsletter.

Reminder to fly our national flag:
May 19 Armed Forces Day
May 28 Memorial Day (half staff dawn until noon)

A year from now, some of you will be griping about having to install a new boat registration decal, so make plans to get out there this season and get your money’s worth!

April Brings A Lot More Than Just Showers

Our great blue heron arrived back in the neighborhood just before dark on the evening of March 23. He awkwardly fought the blustery winds, swooping close to our window before regaining control to reach the shelter of trees along the nearby creek. Within 24 hours, the ground was covered by over 8 inches of snow, with 40 mph gusts creating occasional drifts up to 2 feet. Do you think migrating birds are capable of experiencing regret? –your editor

April is famous for its showers, and this month’s IWTA Newsletter is a veritable downpour of events and information. Iowa taxes are due this month, so keep the Chickadee Checkoff in mind. Free demo paddles, marsh paddles, and a refuge paddle are blooming, along with the  opportunity to “Cross the Delaware”. Event reschedules include the (now) Apr 12 Iowa DNR Free Outfitter Training and Apr 21-22 IWC Kayak Paddling Class. And watch your local media for Earth Day events the weekend of Apr 21-22.

On the information side, check out a brief interesting video, a reopened AmeriCorps grant opportunity, outdoor photography items, Iowa Trails Summit progress, Voyageurs Canoe programming, Dragon Boat Racing schedule, Citizen Water Quality Scientists, a new paddleshop coming to Cedar Rapids, and more.

March has transition weather, but the IWTA Newsletter is full of things to do!

March–a transition month, when Iowa experiences bits of winter and spring, and everything in between. The Vernal Equinox, the astronomical First Day of Spring, occurs on Mar 20. We get a March bonus this year–two full moons, Mar 1 and Mar 31.

Kudos to the Indian Creek Nature Center “Paddle Day 2018” organizers and the fantastic presenters. With 86 paid attendees and plenty of positive feedback, we’ll look forward to doing it again in 2019. FYI, they might have a couple more signed copies of Nate’s “Paddling Iowa” book (319-362-0664).

This issue is full of indoor and outdoor events, including indoor and outdoor paddling. We also included several items to pique your interest (salamanders in politics, eagle eggs, early Iowa photography) and help you prepare for Iowa adventures (Travel Iowa Guide & Map). We’re particularly pleased to see the return of the Iowa Trails Summit, set for Oct 12 (please complete the quick online survey & mark the date). And congratulations to Elgin, which was selected as the 2018 IRR River Town of the Year!

The IWTA Website 2018 Events Calendar now includes over 180 items, and has some new features. Click on any Full Moon date and you will see a complete schedule of full moon dates for the year. Ditto for Meteor Showers.

SPECIAL THANKS to those groups who have added a link to our IWTA Website on their own website or in their newsletter. We appreciate the benefits of networking!

Check Out the Feb Mid-Month Reminders Issue

The second half of February continues with a full calendar of events & activities. We hope to visit with some of you at the IWTA display during the Feb 24 ICNC Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids. Find plenty of things to help you fend off “cabin fever” in the Newsletter and the Events Calendar. We hope you are enjoying the indoor events, making contacts and making plans for spring on our Iowa Water Trails.

Kudos to the folks stepping forward to organize & support the return of the Iowa Trails Summit. Please read our item, save the Oct 12 date, and complete their brief interest survey.

The IWTA Website 2018 Events Calendar now includes over 180 items to plan for, plan around, or use as inspiration for your own events. For more event and activity ideas, we suggest that you check out back issues of the IWTA Newsletter, found in the Newsletter Archives section of the IWTA Website.

SPECIAL THANKS to those groups who have added a link to our IWTA Website on their own website or in their newsletter. We appreciate the benefits of networking!

February Newsletter Unusually Full of Information & Events

We don’t remember a previous February Newsletter with this many events & activities, or this much information. We’ll take that as a good sign for our community of Water Trail users. We hope you enjoy the info, and participate in some of the events.

We enjoyed two full moons in Jan, and look forward to two full moons in March, but we will see none in Feb. How often do you think that happens?

IWTA will have a display at the CSO Iowa Paddlesports Expo on Feb 10, and will definitely be joining Nick & Maureen for breakfast at Crouse Cafe. We will also have a display at the Feb 24 ICNC Paddle Day. We hope to visit with many of you at these or other events as the year unfolds. And we always welcome your email input and feedback.

The IWTA Website 2018 Events Calendar now includes over 170 items, and has some new features. Click on any Full Moon date and you will see a complete schedule of full moon dates for the year. Ditto for Meteor Showers.

Cold Iowa Winter Drives Reflection & Planning

Iowa winter, and the unusually cold temperatures encourage us to reflect on past paddling adventures. . . and plan for future ones. Whether you are reading, googling, or preparing to attend a paddling show, we wish you pleasant dreams. We also hope to visit with you at the Feb 9-11 CSO Paddlesport Expo in Indianola, or at the Feb 24 ICNC Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids.

We encourage you to visit the IWTA Website 2018 Events Calendar to review over 100 indoor & outdoor events, holidays, observances, astronomical occurrences, etc.–a great resource of things to plan for, or plan around, as you develop your WT programming for 2018. Your additions and corrections are always welcome.

The Mid Mo January Newsletter issue includes the 2018 Full Moon Schedule AND the 2018 Meteor Shower Schedule. Both can be useful for planning astronomy events, evening outings, floats or camping trips.  Also in the Newsletter:

  • The Iowa Legislature is now in session, so check our item for dates, link to ID your legislator & contact info, signups for email updates.
  • We hope you enjoy the 115 history, highlights, and trivia items in the updated “Iowa Paddling Chronology.” Thanks to all who made contributions and corrections.
  • The recent really cold weather has grown some serious ice on many Iowa lakes, but please read our item on “Ice Safety Reminders” from the Iowa DNR.

 

Welcome to 2018! And a Very Cold Beginning to the New Year.

So many events, so much to do, we hardly know where to start. Paddling or angling skills development, perhaps?

Progress report–IWTA is currently at 1450 suscribers, an excellent start toward reaching 1500 sometime in 2018.

The Jan 1 IWTA Newsletter issue includes the 2018 Full Moon Schedule–great opportunities for scheduling floats and hikes, astronomy and history events. Not a likely paddling opportunity, but note the two full moons in January.

The Iowa Legislature convenes on Jan 8, so check our Newsletter item for dates, link to ID your legislator & contact info, signups for email updates.

Nominations are now closed, but watch for the Iowa Rivers Revival “River Town of the Year” award announcement, coming soon.

We hope you enjoy the history, highlights, and trivia in the updated “Iowa Paddling Chronology 2017.” Special thanks to all who made contributions and corrections.

The last few days of really cold weather have grown some serious ice on many Iowa lakes, but please read our Newsletter item on”Ice Safety Reminders” from the Iowa DNR.

Please keep those 2018 WT-related events and dates coming. We’re building the annual planning calendar, including events in this Newsletter, and will have them posted to the IWTA Website within the next couple of weeks.

If you are looking for 2018 event ideas, we suggest that you check out the IWTA Calendar and back issues of the IWTA Newsletter, both found on the IWTA Website.

End of 2017, About to Begin 2018

Another calendar year is coming to a close. We hope it was enjoyable and successful for you, your friends and family, and of course your favorite Iowa Water Trails.

The December IWTA Newsletter is traditionally light on WT-related events, but check out the Kayak Pool Sessions, River Town Nominations, and upcoming paddler events in early 2018.

Iowa Water Trails and their friends, dam mitigation and water quality & quantity, did not fare well in the 2017 legislative session, and face even greater challenges in 2018. Check out the comments from IRR Executive Director Molly Hanson, also in the December IWTA Newsletter.

For 7 years, annual Iowa Trails Summits provided valuable presentations, partnerships, & networking re strategies, policies, & opportunities for all types of trails–water, hiking, biking, equestrian, snowmobile, off road, etc. Organizers skipped 2017 with the intent of returning “bigger & better” in 2018. Be sure to read Peter Komendowski’s explanation why the event’s return now may “need a miracle.”

QUICK REMINDERS:
Fly your flag on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Dec 7
(Fly the flag at half-staff, sunrise to sunset.)
Submit IRR “Iowa River Town of the Year” nominations by Dec 15.

There will be a lot of emphasis on the “holiday season” during the last few weeks of 2017, but this is also a good time to anticipate and plan for the challenges and opportunities welcoming us in 2018. It’s a good time to learn more about Iowa water quality and quantity issues, connect with groups like IEC, IRR, & watershed coalitions, join a “friends of the river” group, volunteer to assist your local county conservation organization, or contact your representative or senator. Now is the time to get involved.

If you are looking for 2018 event ideas, we suggest that you check out the IWTA Calendar and back issues of the IWTA Newsletter, both found on the IWTA Website.