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Special Issue 

Photo Review 

Iowa Water Trails Association 
April 2015  
Jan 24 ICNC Paddle Day
Feb 3 IRR Legislative Reception
Feb 6-8 IA Paddle & Pedal Expo
Feb 17 REAP & IEC Lobby Day
Mar 7 Photographers Feast
Mar 13-15 Canoecopia
Mar 21 NE Iowa PaddleFest
Thanks to IWTA Readers

We strive to limit the number of IWTA emails consuming space in your inbox, but as we transition from indoor activities to outdoor activities, it seemed like a good time to reflect back on some of the recent events attended by IWTA and many of you.  We hope you enjoy the photos, info, and memories.  

If you didn't participate in any of these enjoyable and educational events in 2015, please consider participating in 2016.  And support our Water Trails!


Photos by G.Stark




Jan 24; Indian Creek Nature Center Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids

ICNC Paddle Day Lisa & Jan
Lisa Nagle and Jan Aiels shared the fun of last summer's paddle on the winding Kickapoo River in SW Wisconsin, encouraging others to do likewise this year.   Jan Aiels, Education Director/Senior Naturalist for Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, has been the coordinator of the annual Paddle Day for several years.  Lisa Nagle has been an active volunteer with a variety of ICNC activities, and assists Jan with Exhibitors and other aspects of the event.  ICNC hosted its 8th Paddle Day in 2015, and looks forward to continued strong interest and support.


















ICNC Paddle Day 2015 Jones CCB
Naturalist Michele Olson encouraged paddlers to explore the many miles of rivers in Jones County, including the Wapsipinicon, Maquoketa, North Fork Maquoketa, and Buffalo Creek.  Other exhibitors represented the Iowa Valley RC&D, Cedar Valley Paddlers, Sticks In the Water Paddlers, Friends of Cedar Lake, Seatasea Watersports, and IWTA.




ICNC Paddle Day 2015 Schoons

Bill and Joyce Schoon shared wildlife photos and commentary from their paddling adventures around Iowa, across the Midwest, and as far away as Maine, the Carolinas, Texas, and the Mexican Baja. Other presenters included Marty Koch (Paddling Adventures in the Ozarks) and Todd Robertson (Paddler Resources on the New IDNR Website).






ICNC Paddle Day 2015 AWARE
Mari Phelan learns more about the annual Iowa DNR Project AWARE from event coordinator Lynette Siegly.  The 2015 edition of the popular river cleanup will be held July 11-16 (only 5 days this year) along a 65 mile stretch of the Wapsipinicon River, from Independence to Olin.  For those who want to fill out their week, the annual Lower Wapsi Cleanup will continue between Olin and Wheatland on July 16-18.





ICNC Paddle Day 2015 Crowd
The 2015 ICNC Paddle Day drew a record crowd of nearly 100 interested supporters.  Available space will limit the 2016 Paddle Day to a similar number, but a new, larger, environmentally state-of-the-art facility should welcome attendees to the 10th Annual ICNC Paddle Day in 2017.




Feb 3; Iowa Rivers Revival Legislative Reception in Des Moines

IRR Board Member Robin Fortney greets Senator Bill Dotzler, and Senator Michael Gronstal, two of many legislators who attended the Iowa Rivers Revival Legislative Reception.  Dotzler is the Chair of the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee, and serves on committees for Appropriations, Economic Growth, Human Resources, Labor & Business Relations, and Ways & Means.  Gronstall is Majority Leader of the Senate and Chairman of the Rules & Administration Committee.
Items of major concern in this session included funding Iowa's Water & Land Legacy Trust Fund, encouraging creation of a River Restoration program (similar to the successful Lake Restoration program), and securing commitment and funding for a variety of initiatives on behalf of clean water, reduced nutrient runoff, and a reduction in the loss of valuable Iowa topsoil. 


















Representative Art Staed visits with supporters of Iowa's Water and Land Legacy Trust Fund.  Staed is a Ranking Member of the Local Government Committee, and serves on committees for Education, Public Safety, and Veterans Affairs.




Representative Marti Anderson (seated) answers questions about legislation currently in play in the Iowa House.  Anderson serves on committees for Environmental Protection, Human Resources, Judiciary, and Public Safety, and is a Ranking Member of the Administration & Rules Committee.






Representative Chuck Isenhart visits with IRR board member Linda Applegate.  Isenhart is a Ranking Member of the Environmental Protection Committee, serves on the Ag & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, and also serves on committees for Economic Growth and Ways & Means.





Freshman Representative Ken Rizer discusses water quality issues and his interest in outdoor recreation with IRR board member Robin Fortney. Rizer is Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, and serves on committees for Commerce, Human Resources, and Judiciary.




Feb 6-8; Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo in Indianola

Jeff Holmes, co-owner of CanoeSport Outfitters (CSO) with wife Casey, encourages paddlers to become familiar and comfortable with their kayaks, whether in or out of the cockpit.  The annual CSO Paddle and Pedal Expo included Sunday morning pool sessions in the beautiful new Indianola YMCA pool, a great venue for teaching rescues and other basic or advanced paddling skills.  Jeff began his paddling retailer odyssey in 1992.  For an entertaining review of the progress of CSO and paddling sports in Iowa, visit Jeff's blog:














"There I was, wrong-side up in the middle of Red Rock, thumping on my hull, when good old John arrived with a handhold."




CanoeSport Outfitters staffer Shireen Cave demonstrated SUP skills and her enthusiasm for this form of paddling, currently the fastest-growing segment of the industry.  Shireen leads sessions on combining Stand Up Paddling with Yoga, and is responsible for the recently-revamped CSO website.






Highly-regarded paddling instructor Piper Wall explained and demonstrated the finer points of bracing, stressing the importance of proper form for effectiveness and avoidance of physical injury.





This adventurous group of kayakers (Sue, Kerry, Diane, and Teresa) were featured in an entertaining and informative presentation on "Kayaking Voyageur's National Park."  Diane Lowry (second from right) also provided tips and encouragement to paddling photographers with her presentation "Images from a Kayak Seat."


Boat Love
"I love this boat!" Joe Trumm hams it up for Dave Hillman, who was pointing out some of the features of crossover boats like the Dagger Katana.  During the Expo, Piper Wall and Dave delivered a presentation explaining how the relatively-new crossover boat designs combine WW shapes with increased leg room, bulkheads & hatches, and drop skegs to create a boat which can play in moderate whitewater, but still move downriver with acceptable tracking, speed, and a bit of camping gear.  Dave was elected the new President of the Iowa Whitewater Coalition at the group's annual meeting during the Expo.












































































































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Feb 17; REAP & Iowa Environmental Council Lobby Day in Des Moines


Iowa Legislators mingle with Iowa Environmental Council members, exhibitors, and interested citizens from around the state at the annual REAP & Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) Lobby Day at the Capitol.  The event encourages face-to-face discussions with legislators about the importance of protecting Iowa's air, water, and land.  Over 250 individuals and 35 organizations participated in 2015.  View of the main floor of the beautiful Iowa capitol building from the balcony.






IRR Executive Assistant Jenn Drier, Stacy Williams with American Rivers, and IRR board member Robin Fortney gathered at the Iowa Rivers Revival exhibit. Founded in 2007, IRR's mission is "Helping Iowans restore, protect and enjoy our rivers."  IRR sponsors programs such as Master River Stewards, River Rascals, & River Town of the Year, and is a strong leader in efforts to establish a river restoration initiative in Iowa.









Mike Delaney (second from right) and other RRWA advocates working at the Raccoon River Watershed Association exhibit. The RRWA is a citizen group "dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the river and its watershed. The group sponsors the efforts of many professional and volunteer citizen scientists working to protect and improve the Raccoon River watershed for the safe enjoyment of canoeing, fishing, bird watching, camping, swimming, and other forms of outdoor recreation.

















































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Mar 7; Photographers Feast in the Quad Cities

Paddlers (and photographers) Joyce & Bill Schoon traveled from Cedar Rapids to the Quad Cities to enjoy the workshop.  The Photographer's Feast, organized by Brian Tugana, provided fast-moving presentations by 6 photographers, encouraging photographers to experiment in areas as diverse as architecture, landscape, nature, portraiture, events, and documentary.  The workshop drew a full house of 203 attendees, half of which saw the presenters live, half via video link to an adjoining room.  Next year's workshop is scheduled for March 5, 2016, and organizers are seeking a venue large enough to host all participants in a single room.


















Paddler/photographer Joe Trumm of Alburnett helped create a Canon photo of a Fuji image of a Canon photographer.  FYI, Joe shoots with a Nikon.




Cameras are like boats--"Just one more . . ."






Representatives of camera and accessory manufacturers were busy in the exhibit area, answering questions and demonstrating equipment during breaks in the workshop.  Ante up your driver's license and some would allow you to take a lens out for some test shots.

























































Mar 13-15; Canoecopia in Madison, WI

The morning sun was a mixed blessing at the Quad Cities Floatzilla exhibit in the lobby--nice and warm, but a bit bright.  Obviously also a challenge for the photographer.  Maybe recruiting a few more Wisconsin paddlers can help Floatzilla set a new record.  A lot of Iowa paddlers visit the annual Canoecopia outdoor water-sports show each year, but more Iowa groups are considering exhibiting as well, expanding their marketing, and hoping to draw some of the 20,000 attendees to Iowa events, attractions, water trails, and communities.


















Kathy Stevens (right), an advocate for Iowa paddling and the Great River Rumble, indicated that this cooperative exhibit drew a lot of attention from whitewater paddlers, but she also fielded lots of questions about flat-water paddling as well.  Perhaps some whitewater competitors also want to take the family on a river float during their visit?


Charles City, Elkader, and Manchester are working together, marketing and branding their area of Iowa as "Your Midwest Whitewater Destination--3 Parks, 3 Times the Fun!"


The many events and the variety of land and water trails in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area drew the attention of Canoecopia visitors with this attractive display, helpful maps, and friendly volunteers.



















































































Mar 21; NE Iowa PaddleFest in Cedar Falls

Darin Siefken, owner of CrawDaddy Outdoors in Waverly, provided demonstrations of various types of rescues which kayakers can use to get themselves or other back upright, or back in their boat.  He also emphasized the importance of always wearing a PFD, and demonstrated the use of some basic safety equipment like the bilge pump and paddle float.  This was only the second year for the NE Iowa PaddleFest, and Black Hawk County Conservation organizers successfully dealt with a last-minute change of venue.  A followup survey indicated that attendees overall enjoyed the pool presentations, room presentations, keynote speaker, and the convenient location, and most would plan to return in 2016.














Black Hawk County Conservation Director Vern Fish shared insight into the planning and preparation necessary for adventure canoe trips on rivers in the wilderness areas of Canada.  Vern and 2 or 3 other crew members will be heading to the Cochrane/Thiewiaza Rivers, Saskatchewan to Manitoba, this year, the third year in a row he has participated in such a challenging adventure.




Mary Hyland shared pictures and stories of the fun, hard work, and valuable impact of the annual Iowa DNR Project AWARE event, encouraging folks to get involved.  Project AWARE 2015 will be held July 11-16 from Independence to Olin on the Wapsipinicon River.  Other presentation topics included Iowa's Low Head Dams, Manchester WW Park, Styriggers Product Demo, Taking Youth Groups to BWCA, and Paddler Trails in Black Hawk County.






Keynote Speaker Gene Ott entertained the audience with humorous and heart-warming stories of his evolution from being the owner of a successful Iowa meat locker visiting the Boundary Waters, to becoming the owner of a successful BWCA outfitter operation.  And how he became a movie star along the way.  Gene is the owner of Packsack Canoe Trips in Ely, MN.





Gene Ott demonstrates moose calling, then explains some of the risks which can arise if one is successful in attracting such a large hooved mammal with love in his eyes.







































































































Black Hawk CCB Naturalist Chris Anderson explained and demonstrated how to make your own wood gasifier pack stove from common food cans.  He noted that the brand or flavor of soup was not important, but certain brands do fit together better.


Nothing holds audience attention like the use of power tools.  
Maybe it's the potential for something to go wrong?






























































































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Gregg Stark
Editor, Iowa Water Trails Association Newsletter