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Iowa Water Trails Association 
December, 2015  
Send us your 2016 Event Dates!
Dec 31 Application Deadline--IRR Master River Stewards Seeking A Few Good Facilitators
Jan 12 in Boone, River Restoration Listening Session Along Des Moines River
Jan 16 ICNC Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids--Win the Sassafras Canoe Raffle!
Feb 5-7 Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo--Mark Your Calendar
Feb 7 Winter Waters Fun Fest in Camanche--Free Display Space!
Apr 2 Outdoor Adventure Fest in Waterloo/Cedar Falls--Call for Speakers!
2016 Is a Boat Registration Renewal Year
Winter Pool Sessions Around Iowa Sharpen Paddling Skills
Gift Ideas for "Outdoorsy" Friends & Family Members--New RRWA Phenology Calendar
Quick Look At the Weeks Ahead
Thanks to IWTA Readers


It's late December, the end of the year, the holiday season, and time to think about others. As we give thanks for the many blessings of 2015, and prepare to enter 2016, please consider how your commitments of funding, time, experience, and energy can make a difference in the coming year. Our organizations, our families, our children, our waterways, and our critters could all benefit from our help.

Best wishes to all of our readers!

Chickadee Check Adv End 2015
Help our critters when you file your taxes.

Prerequisites of proper training, necessary gear, a paddle plan, & 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 continue to welcome info and dates for 2016 events. Please contact us with your ideas, questions, concerns, or corrections:
Send Us Your Info for the 2016 IWTA Planning Calendar!
Calendar photo 2016
As 2015 winds down, we're gathering event information for the 2016 IWTA Planning Calendar. Whether you have firm dates and complete details, or tentative dates and a rough outline, we would like to hear from you. Even if you just share an "inkling," we will have a reminder to follow up with you as the year progresses.

Among the dates/events we have already received:
Jan 16; ICNC Paddle Day, Cedar Rapids. Presentations, exhibits, door prizes, canoe raffle;  
Feb 5-7; CSO Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo, Indianola. Three days of presentations, exhibits, dealer reps, spring deals.
Feb 7; Winter Waters Fun Fest, Rock Creek Park & The Mississippi River Eco-tourism Center, Camanche. Presentations and displays about paddling trips, free use of winter sports equipment, chili/mac supper, free display space to paddlers; free family event. Chuck Jacobsen, Clinton CCB, 563-847-7202, Cell: 563-357-0759
Feb 27; Iowa Games Winter Events
Mar 5; Outdoor Photography Workshop, Quad Cities.
Mar 11-13; Rutabaga Canoecopia, Madison, WI.
Mar 23-24; Iowa Water Conference, Ames. Full agenda to be announced in December 2015.
Apr 2; Outdoor Adventure Fest, Waterloo/Cedar Falls; keynote by Dr. Jim Pease (formerly the NE Iowa PaddleFest).
Apr 30; Iowa 3-Year Boat Registrations Expire.
Jun 16-17; Iowa Trails Summit, Cedar Falls.
Jun 18; Charles City Challenge
Jun 25; Iowa Games, Cedar Falls.
Jul 31--Aug 6; Great River Rumble, route TBD. 
Pending final confirmation of overnight stops, it appears that the 2016 GRR will run approximately 100 miles from Eau Clair to Winona on the Chippewa and Mississippi Rivers, but keep checking the website for official info.
Aug TBD; Mussel Blitz, Dates & Sites TBD; Scott Gritters
Sep 14; VA Vets Paddle, Riverside.
Sep 17; IARVCP Iowa River Cleanup, Iowa City.
Oct TBD; Minnesota Water Trails & Tourism Summit, biennial conference expected again in 2016, attendees from neighboring states welcome.
Oct TBD; Dennis Wendel Mussel Move, Waterloo, annual event to rescue mussels left high and dry by seasonal deflation of the bladder dam on the Cedar River; Pam Wolter,

Do you have WT-related event info for 2016?
Contact us at

Dec 31 Application Deadline for Master River Stewards Facilitator Training
Iowa Rivers Revival (IRR) is looking for a few dynamic river-loving facilitators for their Master River Stewards Program (MRSP).  If you and/or your organization or agency are interested in teaming with IRR to provide MRSP workshops to adults in your area, consider applying to attend the MRSP Train the Facilitator training on March 30 and 31, 2016, at the Fire Station in Webster City.
The Master River Stewards Program is an adult education program created and piloted by IRR with funding from a REAP-CEP grant and other donors. MRSP brings 32 hours of instruction to Iowans on watersheds, river and stream dynamics, river and riparian habitats and wildlife, river paddling and navigation, river chemistry and water monitoring, river and stream restoration and stewardship, and policies related to protecting river and stream water quality. Additional coursework includes group projects conducted by participants and a follow-up project-reporting meeting.

IRR will accept up to 20 people for this facilitator training. Applications are due December 31, 2015. Contact Roz Lehman, IRR Executive Director via email at or call 563-425-5233.  

Find information about the Master River Stewards Train-the-Trainer program, course content, and how to apply, at:

Jan 12; Natural River Restoration Listening Sessions Along Des Moines River
IRR Logo
Iowa Rivers Revival (IRR) and American Rivers continue their series of educational meetings that will provide an introduction to natural river restoration benefits and practices. Landowners, farmers, conservationists, educators, and interested members of the public are invited to attend the free meetings, which last about 1 hour.
The presentations focus on communities near the Des Moines River, with the first two held in Humboldt and Boone in early December. Staci Williams, an Associate Director for American Rivers, will lead the discussion. Upcoming meeting dates and sites:
  • Tuesday, Jan 12 at 5:30 p.m. in Boone at the Ericson Library
  • Tuesday, Apr 5 Technical Workshop at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance
Natural river restoration provides many benefits to landowners and the surrounding community, including:
  • Offers affordable and sustainable options to reduce stream bank erosion and keep productive cropland and stream buffers in place.  
  • Improves water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient loading into the stream.
  • Reduces flooding and flood effects.
  • Protects local infrastructure such as bridges and roads from erosion and flooding, and reduces taxpayer expense to repair, replace and maintain.
  • Enhances aquatic and riparian wildlife habitat and ecosystem.
  • Improves river recreation, fishing, and hunting - boosting local economies and providing public health and quality of life.
Roz Lehman, Executive Director, Iowa Rivers Revival, 515-724-4093,
Staci Williams, Associate Director, American Rivers, 843-957-2367,

Jan 16; Indian Creek Nature Center Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids--
You Could Win the Sassafras Canoe Raffle!
ICNC Sassafrass Canoe Raffle 2016
Win this beautiful lapstrake Sassafrass canoe.
In conjunction with its annual Paddle Day event, Indian Creek Nature Center is hosting a raffle of a beautiful, hand-built, 12' solo Sassafras lapstrake canoe. This lightweight wood canoe includes water-tight compartments, adjustable foot pegs, and provision for a back band. Its graceful lines are accentuated by a white exterior and natural interior. Tickets are $5 each or 6 for $25. They can be purchased via credit card by calling the Nature Center at 319-362-0664, or by stopping in at the ICNC Creekside Shop. Tickets will be available to purchase during the ICNC Paddle Day, up until the drawing at the end of the day. You need not be present to win.
More Sassafras photos and design info at:

The ICNC Paddle Day will be held from Noon-5:00 pm on Saturday, Jan 16 at Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403.

Voyagers ICNC Presentation
Wild beauty in the land of the Voyageurs.
This 9th annual ICNC Paddle Day offers something for every pad
dler, whether a beginner or seasoned veteran. Connect with a paddling buddy, share experiences, learn about new gear or discover a new place to paddle.  Enjoy displays, door prizes and engaging presentations.  

Doors open at noon for you to examine paddling exhibits and displays by various paddling organizations. Members $8; NM;$12

Speakers begin at 12:30 pm and will include:
  • Corey Smock, "Itasca to New Orleans: Paddling for a Cause -- 2,340 miles"  
  • Darrin Seifkin,  "Kayaking Lake Superior" 
  • Todd Robertson, "Safety First" 
  • Bruce Frana and Eric Evans:  "Retracing the Voyageurs' Route: Across the Boundary Waters to Lake Superior" 
For complete details of each presentation, or the raffle, visit  

Feb 5-7; Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo in Indianola--Mark Your Calendar!
Join your paddling friends at the Expo.

It's too early to expect Canoesport Outfitters to announce the presentation schedule, but it's definitely time to reserve February 5-7, 2016 for attending the annual Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo in Indianola. 

It's all good--good info, good gear, good people, and good deals. 
Hope to see you there!

Watch for the presentation schedule and other Expo info:

G.Stark photo.  
Feb 7; Winter Waters Fun Fest in Camanche--Free Display Space!
Logo Clinton Co Con
A new "Winter Waters Fun Fest" will be held at Rock Creek Park & The Mississippi River Eco-tourism Center near Camanche on Sunday, February 7.  

The event will include numerous presentations and displays about area and regional paddling trips, free use of winter sports equipment, and a chili/mac supper. This is a free family event, and display space is free to paddlers. 

For more information, contact Chuck Jacobsen, Clinton CCB, 563-847-7202, Cell: 563-357-0759
Apr 2; "Outdoor Adventure Fest" in Waterloo/Cedar Falls--Call for Speakers!
Mary Hyland Explains Project AWARE during 2015 PaddleFest.
Black Hawk County has announced a new event name and new location, set the date(s), and issued a "Call for Speakers!"

What was named "PaddleFest" for the past two years is now the "Outdoor Adventure Fest." The name was changed primarily to broaden the event's focus to include all types of outdoor recreation, including paddling.

This year's event will take place April 2-3, 2016 at the Black Hawk County YMCA. The indoor sessions will be held on April 2, with an optional paddle outing on April 3.

April is not that far off, and organizers are looking for speakers for this year's conference. Katie Shelton, Vern Fish and the crew are looking for folks who have taken high adventure trips, local adventure trips, or who can present on natural history topics (birding, rocks, fossils, etc). 

This year's keynote speaker, Jim Pease, will speak to the status of rivers here in Iowa. 

If you are interested in speaking at the 2016 Outdoor Adventure Fest, or have other questions about the event, please email Katie at

G.Stark photo.  
2016 is a Boat Registration Renewal Year--
Select Boat Owners Need to Verify Hull ID Number to Register their Craft
Iowa DNR Logo
2016 is a boat registration year and Iowans will be registering about 235,000 boats between Jan 1 & Apr 30.
Boat registrations are handled by Iowa's county recorders. 

Boat owners should bring their current registration to recorder's office in the county where the individual resides when they renew. Nonresidents who register their boat in Iowa will go to the county where the boat is primarily used. Owners who purchased a boat from a private seller and is registering it in their name should bring the signed registration and to make sure the title is signed over to them, if applicable.

Boat registrations are good for three years. The fees go to support water trails, navigation enforcement, aquatic invasive species, boater education and safety, and the registration system.

Just a reminder, registration is not required for the following vessels:
  • Inflatable vessels that are 7 feet or less in length.
  • Canoes and kayaks that are 13 feet or less in length and have no motor or sail
  • Vessels properly registered in another state and using Iowa waters for 60 days or less.
Find info about registration and proper display of decals and numbers at: 

IWTA has verified that the owners of approximately 589 canoes and 52 kayaks will be among more than 13,000 Iowa boat owners receiving a letter alerting them that their boat hull identification number (HIN) does not comply with U.S. Coast Guard regulations and they have to verify their HIN with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in order to register their boat.

The US Coast Guard requires any vessel manufactured in year 1973 and newer to have a valid 12 digit HIN.  Boat owners will need that valid 12 digit HIN to register their craft, and the current 3-year registrations expire in April 2016. 
Complete instructions for updating the HIN will be included in the letter. "This is no fault of the boat owner; they purchased a craft that had an incorrect HIN issued by the manufacturer. We want to help them resolve this before their registration expires on April 30, 2016," said Susan Stocker, boating law administrator for the Iowa DNR. 

For further questions, contact: Susan Stocker, Boating Law Administrator and Education Coordinator, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, at 515-725-8477.
Winter Pool Paddling Sessions at Cedar Rapids, Indianola, Waverly
Canoesport Outfitters staffer Shireen Cave demonstrates basic SUP skills at the Indianola "Y" Pool.  
G.Stark photo.
Cedar Rapids at Bender Pool: 
The Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department, in cooperation with Linn County Conservation, is offering kayakers, ages ten and up, a chance to practice their skills such as strokes, rolls and safety and rescue moves in the controlled environment at Bender Pool, 940 14th Avenue SE. Drop-in Sunday pool sessions for kayakers are being offered each month from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on (remaining dates) December 20, January 3, 17 and 31, February 14 and 28, and March 13. The sessions are practices, not lessons, but experienced paddlers will be available to help. The fee is $10 per person per visit. No advance registration is required.
Participants bring their own kayaks and equipment and wear proper swim attire and clean life jackets. A helmet is required for those practicing rolls. The kayaks must be rinsed, inside and out, with the hose just outside the door before they can be placed in the pool. Youth must be supervised by an adult. For more information, call Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation, (319) 286-5731.
Indianola at Indianola "Y" Pool: 
Formal paddling skills classes are offered by CanoeSport Outfitters at the Indianola "Y" Pool. Visit the CanoeSport Outfitters website for details:  

Waverly at Waverly "W" Pool: 
Formal paddling skills classes are offered by CrawDaddy Outdoors at the Waverly "W" Pool. Visit the CrawDaddy Outdoors website for dates and details:  

We would be glad to publicize any additional off-season opportunities to develop or practice paddling and safety skills. Please forward your information to
Gift Ideas for Your "Outdoorsy" Friends and Family Members
Obviously, your "outdoorsy" friends and family members would appreciate being introduced to the IWTA Newsletter. Well over 1200 Iowans subscribe to this free, monthly email newsletter to stay informed about what is happening in, on, around, and to our Iowa Water Trails. With a little holiday help from our readers, we may receive our own holiday wish--being able to claim over 1300 readers!  Subscribe here: 
RRWA 2016 Calendar Wht Baneberry Leland Searles
Photo of White Baneberry from Raccoon River SW Calendar.
Photo by Leland Searles.

The 2016 Raccoon River Watershed Calendar is a great stocking stuffer or wrapped present for someone you know who is an outdoor enthusiast. The fourth edition has entirely new photography and content, including a stunning prairie photo on the cover, by renowned Iowa photographer Ty Smedes, and an illustrated essay on streams called "The Shape of the River." It continues the concept of "phenology," the study of how climate and seasons affect the life cycles of plants and animals.

As in the last two years, one dollar from each calendar helps fund the research and education fund of the Raccoon River Watershed Association (RRWA). Discounts for orders of five or more calendars. Visit  or contact Leland Searles at 

The Bur Oak Series includes a wide array of books and guides about Iowa, most by Iowa authors, published by the University of Iowa Press. Bur Oak books cover subjects from archaeology, history, and ornithology to prairie restoration, gardening, and sustainability, Bur Oak Guides include user-friendly fold-out laminated guides and a wide array of paperback field guides to a
Archaeological Guide to Iowa book
"Archaeological Guide to Iowa" is among the many Bur Oak titles currently on sale.
ssist in a more direct exploration of the natural world. Among the authors you will find some of your favorites, such as Terry VanDeWalle, Sylvan Runkel, Cornelia Mutel, Lynn Alex, and many more. Browse the Bur Oak series at:
And who doesn't like to find desired items on sale?:

The Iowa Outdoors Magazine continues to get our nod as a wonderful way to learn about our state's natural resources, to build citizen support, and involve our young people in healthy recreation, fun, and awareness of our world beyond the keyboard. It is well-written, includes excellent photographs, arrives in your mailbox (unique experience for grandkids!), and it will be one of the least expensive items on your gift list.
This magazine frequently includes interesting stories and beautiful photos relating to our water trails and the myriad of interesting activities along our waterways.  Whether you're looking for places to visit, things to do, ways to interest students or grandkids in the outdoors, answers to outdoor questions, human interest stories, or even recipes, you can find it in the pages of Iowa Outdoors. A great gift for active families, grandkids, retirees, or those wanting to stay in touch with their home state. Subscribe or extend your subscription at
PLANNING CALENDAR:  A Quick Look at the Weeks Ahead

Dec 22; Winter Solstice, 1st day of Winter.
Dec 25; Full Moon. Sunrise 7:33, Sunset 4:41, Moonrise 5:25 CST
Jan 16; ICNC Paddle Day, Cedar Rapids.
Feb 5-7; CSO Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo, Indianola.
Feb 7; Winter Waters Fun Fest, Rock Creek Park & The Mississippi River Eco-tourism Center, Camanche.

We Hope That You Are Enjoying the "Award-Winning" IWTA Newsletter
The mission of the IWTA is to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas and encouragement among Iowans working to create, enhance, or utilize our water trails. That is only possible with your participation. Thank you for your continuing support and encouragement.

Our special thanks to:
  • Readers who forwarded info about WT-related events around Iowa.
  • Readers who are already providing items for the IWTA 2016 Planning Calendar.
  • Readers who shared items they are reading, or otherwise found interesting.
  • Other groups who have added our IWTA Website link to their own website; we like to network!
We do our best to include all corrections, cancellations, and reschedules ASAP in our newsletters and other materials, but the most current info on events will probably always be the Events Calendar on the IWTA Website: 

Please continue to share your events, reports, ideas, quiz topics, suggestions, and corrections with us at 
Constant Contact Award 2014

If you are not one of over 1,200 Iowans who currently subscribe to this free, monthly email IWTA Newsletter, please click on the convenient "Join Our Mailing List" button to get on board.
And, please share the IWTA Newsletter with your friends via the "Forward this email" or "Share on Social Media" buttons. 
Gregg Stark
Editor, Iowa Water Trails Association Newsletter