Author Archives: greggpaddle

November: Time to Hit the “Pause” Button?

“When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings they start,” argues my friend and teacher Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN, which advises global businesses on ethics and leadership. “You start to reflect, you start to rethink your assumptions, you start to reimagine what is possible and, most importantly, you start to reconnect with.” 

—Thomas L. Friedman, “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations”

It’s kind of interesting to apply that logic to a human “pause” to visit an Iowa Water Trail, contemplate the change of seasons, keep your eyes focused on the scenery, your fingers unmoving on a paddle, your mind following the natural flow of the river.

Set your clocks back & replace smoke alrm batteries Nov 5.
Fly your flag on Veterans Day Nov 11.

There will be a lot of emphasis on the “holiday season” during the last two months 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.

Our November 2017 issue includes a quick look back at some interesting events from 2017. If you are looking for 2018 event ideas, we suggest that you also check out the IWTA Calendar and back issues of the IWTA Newsletter, both found on this IWTA Website.

September on Iowa Water Trails

Depending on your point of view, it’s late summer or early fall. Either way, it’s the start of the transition to cooler temperatures, a switch to the fall color palate, and the re-emergance of boulders and bluffs from behind the green shroud of summer. Paddling, exploring, photographing, or whatever your activity of choice, we encourage you to invest some time enjoying your Iowa Water Trails. (And maybe check out the fall paddling shop sales?)

Be sure to check out the events and articles in this month’s Newsletter–Fall Along the WTs, Pelicans, Half-Chickens, Monarchs, Historic Iowaville, Volunteers for Veterans & Cleanups, Legislature Already?–Something for everyone.

Aug 2017 The MIGHTY 1400 !!!

THE MIGHTY 1400 !!!   Back in January, we shared a goal of increasing IWTA Newsletter subscribers from 1315 to over 1400 in 2017.    Last week we hit 1402.

Credit for breaking the 1400 goal goes to all of you who contributed in a variety of ways. Many of you shared your Newsletter with friends, or directly encouraged them to subscribe. Some of you included a “plug” for the IWTA on your websites or in your own newsletters. Some of you spoke up to praise the Newsletter at various events or to members of groups with parallel interests. And some of you provided the information which gives the Newsletter its value. Whatever the means or method, your contributions are deeply appreciated.

Congratulations to us all, & may the IWTA continue to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas and encouragement among Iowans working to develop, enhance, or utilize our water trails.


JANUARY, and Lots of Info in the Newsletter

You would expect January to be a bit slow, but the Jan 1, 2017 Newsletter is filled with indoor & outdoor events, pool sessions, eagle watches, nominations, IDNR grants, a photo award, an essay contest, winter safety, natural resources, IPTV shows, career advancement, a retirement, livery owner training, paddlefishing, and the opening Iowa legislative session. We hope that you find the variety of items interesting and useful.

Your help will be critical to achieving two goals in 2017:

  1. Increase our IWTA Newsletter subscribers from 1315 to 1400 (about 7%).
  2. Ensure subscribers actually READ the Newsletter by including items which are interesting, entertaining, & of value.

Please let your friends and neighbors know about the IWTA Newsletter & Website, and keep your newsletter relevant by forwarding your events, ideas, and concerns.                           Contact us at 

NOVEMBER, With Occasional Warm Days, Consistently Cold Water.

Access current and previous monthly IWTA Newsletters at

Once again, be aware that November is a “transition month,” with an occasional day of calm winds and sunny skies impersonating a day from July or August. Please remind yourself that the water is very cold, and the days are shorter, and plan your paddling accordingly. Ensure that your plans include warm clothing, energy snacks, and paddling friends.

Speaking of shorter days, note that we set our clocks BACK one hour on the morning of Sunday, November 6.

For traditionalists, those unable to decide, or those waiting for the very last “October Surprise,” be sure to VOTE on Tuesday November 8. Check the back side of your ballot; some of our most important local issues will be decided there.

Veterans Day is Friday, November 11. Please display your flag, and make an effort to thank your neighbors or coworkers who are veterans. And, if you are a veteran, please accept our sincere thanks for your service.

A quick reminder, we’re gathering info for the 2017 IWTA Planning Calendar. These items will appear in both the IWTA Newsletter during the year, and on the IWTA Website Calendar as soon as possible. Please let us know as soon as you have tentative or confirmed info about your 2017 events.  Contact us at

OCTOBER, And Here Comes the Fall Color Show!

Access current and previous monthly IWTA Newsletters at

Please keep mind that, “due to recent flooding,” water levels may still be high, accesses may be difficult to use getting on or off the trail, new strainers and other obstacles may have been created, and planned events may have been canceled, rescheduled, or relocated.

According to the Iowa DNR, the recent wet weather may delay the onset of fall colors.  Mother Nature’s fall decorations are a great motivation to pack a lunch and enjoy an Iowa WT. Iowa paddlers are probably familiar with a relaxing float past multicolored slopes and emerging rock outcroppings. But those without a boat, or without an interest in paddling, can enjoy much of the same by just visiting a WT access, with lawn chair or fishing pole optional. If your favorite river isn’t cooperating, try a local lake. For weekly updates on fall color around Iowa contact the DNR fall color hotline at 515-233-4110. A pdf version of the weekly updates along with other fall color information can be found at  For fall festivals, scenic byways, places to stay and other ways to enjoy fall in Iowa, visit

It’s also the season to contact your legislators and share your concerns/ideas/opinions about improving water quality, funding the Water and Land Legacy, or other issues of interest to WT supporters. Most proposals or initiatives will be developed well before the legislative session begins on Jan 9, 2017. It’s best to speak up now.

SEPTEMBER, With Some Unusually High Water Levels.

View the September IWTA Newsletter.

Record flooding in August? Very unusual, but true, at least for our friends in NE Iowa. Our Iowa weather has always been a bit fickle, and may be becoming even more so. Just another reason to be aware of weather and water levels before you head out to enjoy our WTs.

The September issue of the IWTA Newsletter is full of events and activities through September and early October–tours, floats, chicken dinner, geode floats, a pelican festival, canoe school, disabled Vets paddle, happy hour (& volunteer recruitment), grand opening, several river cleanups, birding, blue grass, & the underground railroad. How could you not find something on that list to pique your interest?

We’re heading into Mother Nature’s celebrated “Fall Colors Season.” Jones County has scheduled their annual Fall Colors Float on Oct 1, but we know there must be several more to publicize. Please forward your Fall Colors event info to

Please check out the items in this month’s “What Readers are Following & Recommending” section. Our congratulations to Larry Stone and Orlan Love, both individuals very deserving of the recognition. A couple of items regarding activities and funding related to clean water and the Water and Land Legacy remind us that now is the time to share your concerns and ideas with your legislators. Most proposals or initiatives will be developed well before the legislative session begins on Jan 9, 2017.   It’s best to speak up now!

AUGUST, Celebrating 1300 IWTA Newsletter Subscribers!

We are very pleased and proud to announce that our IWTA Newsletter subscriber list recently topped 1300 email addresses!  If you are not part of the “informed 1300,” you can subscribe to this free, email monthly newsletter by clicking on

Zero to 1300 in 4 years: Our first IWTA Newsletter issue was July of 2012. Here we are, 4 years and 48 Newsletters later, with 1300 subscribers. Sustaining and growing the IWTA Newsletter was made possible by your support, input, ideas, and encouragement. Sharing your event info, and encouraging friends to subscribe will helps us continue this growth.

August is a busy part of the summer. Check out the items and events in the newsletter and on the Events Calendar of this website, and get out there before the kids head back to school. We must add a word of caution that water levels on some WTs are unseasonably high. Check river levels before you head out.


Iowa’s Water Trails and Iowa’s Heritage are inextricably linked, from the fossil record, through prehistory, Native American history, pioneer history, and into the modern era. Iowa waterways have provided humans with food, water, transportation, and power over hundreds of years. They have determined the location of villages, mills, bridges, and cities. They have facilitated the development of trade routes, industries, and economies.

Recent programs, sponsored by County Conservation Boards or other organizations, and facilitated by the Office of the State Archaeologist, have tapped into Iowans’ deep interest in their heritage. From fossil & arrow head collectors to historians to pioneer genealogists, we want to know more about the life and lives of earlier residents of the land now called Iowa.

Funding for Iowa heritage programming has just suffered a blow, and you can help. To learn more about the immediate impacts of the funding cut, actions you can initiate, and the short and long term initiatives being undertaken, visit

You can also show your support by purchasing and displaying  a “Heritage Matters” sticker:

JULY, Start of Second Half of the Year and Second Half of the Paddling Season.

Happy Birthday, IWTA!

Our first IWTA Newsletter issue was July of 2012. Here we are, 4 years and 48 Newsletters later (plus all the MidMo Reminders and a few special issues). And, most importantly, we have grown to 1,270 subscribers!

Pat yourselves on the back, because sustaining and growing the IWTA Newsletter would not be possible without your support, input, ideas, and encouraging friends to subscribe. Our sincere thanks to all of our valued subscribers!

We have reached the middle of the year, and essentially the middle of the WT paddling season. Are you getting enough “WT time?” Avoid those winter regrets–call some friends, grab a boat and get out there!