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Mid Month 


Iowa Water Trails Association 
January, 2016  
Jan 16 ICNC Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids--Win the Sassafras Canoe Raffle!
Jan 16 Des Moines River History Part 2
Feb 5-7 Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo--Mark Your Calendar
Feb 7 Winter Waters Fun Fest in Camanche--Free Display Space!
Apr 5 Natural River Restoration Technical Workshop at Fort Dodge
Apr 2-3 Outdoor Adventure Fest in Waterloo/Cedar Falls--Call for Speakers!
Apr 5 Natural River Restoration Technical Workshop at Fort Dodge
Winter Pool Sessions Around Iowa Sharpen Paddling Skills
Send us your 2016 Event Dates!
Thanks to IWTA Readers

Todd Robertson ICNC P Day 2012 GStark
Iowa DNR River Programs
Outreach Coordinator Todd Roberts
encourages safe paddling during his presentation to an ICNC Paddle Day audience.
Our legislators are now in session at the capitol building, but the rest of us are free to attend the Paddle Days, Expos, Outdoor Fests and other fun seasonal events held at this time of year. And yes, opportunities to share your concerns with those legislators are also on the calendar.

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 your support.

Water temperatures have been very cold for some time, cold enough to quickly lead to hypothermia. After a relatively pleasant December, we have now returned to "normal winter Iowa." 

Ice is forming, but in many areas its thickness and strength are "suspect," particularly if current is flowing beneath the ice. Accessing open water brings unique challenges. 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.

Ice Rescue Gear
We suggest that you store your throw line & a PFD
in your car along with the scraper, shovel, jug of sand,
& a blanket or sleeping bag this winter.
They might come in handy if an ice rescue is needed.

We continue to welcome info and dates for 2016 events. Please contact us with your ideas, questions, concerns, or corrections:
Jan 16; Indian Creek Nature Center Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids--
Enjoy the Presentations & Exhibits, Enter the Raffle to Win a Sassafras Canoe!
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
Beautiful scenery in the Land of the Voyagers.
The 9th annual ICNC Paddle Day offers something for every
paddler, 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. 
ICNC Members $8; NM;$12. 

Speakers begin at 12:30 pm and will include:

"Paddle for Prevention: A Mississippi Voyage."  Lance Loney and Corey Smock paddled the mississippi River from the Headwater to New Orleans. They will share stories, pictures, expertise, and glad offer expedition paddling advice.

"Kayaking Lake Superior."  Darrin Siefken, CrawDaddy Outdoors, will cover a multitude of paddling locations on Lake Superior including Isle Royale National Park, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Pictures Rocks National Lakeshare, the North Shore, as well as Sleeping Giant and Slate Islands Provincial Parks in Canada.

"Retracing the Voyageurs' Route: Across the Boundary Waters to Lake Superior."  Bruce Frana and Eric Evans recount their crossing of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in twelve days from Crane Lake to Lake Superior. They will share photos and info on trip planning and preparing for emergencies as well as area history and wildlife sightings from their September 2015 trip.
"Safety First."  Todd Robertson, Iowa DNR River Programs Outreach Coordinator, will discuss efficient paddle strokes, how to "read" a river, how to avoid strainers and sweepers, how to deal with other boat traffic and weather, and what to do when you dump your boat. This is essential safety information for new paddlers and a refresher for the seasoned!

For more info, driving directions, etc., visit  

ICNC Sassafrass Canoe Raffle 2016 WIN THIS 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:

Photos courtesy Indian Creek Nature Center
Jan 16; Part 2--Des Moines Area MPO Sponsoring Des Moines River History Series
Des Moines Area Metro Planning Org
As part of its ongoing planning effort for water trails and nearby greenways, the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is is sponsoring two river history events in January:

Des Moines' River Roots (Part 1)
was held on Jan 9, with historians Bill Whittaker and Kathy Gourley

Des Moines' River Roots (Part 2)
will be held at 2:00 pm on Jan 16, Hoyt Sherman Place, 1501 Woodland Ave, Des Moines, IA 50314

Description:  Have you ever wondered what life was like in Des Moines over a hundred years ago? Rivers have been fundamental in shaping development and recreation in our communities. Join two local historians as they share about Des Moines' river history and a resident made famous by his passion for the water.  John Zeller will speak on "Fishing Money from the River: Historic Uses and Misuses of the Des Moines River."  John Wenck will present "Tacitus Hussey: Des Moines Pioneer and River Man."
If you have any questions, please contact:
Theresa Cody at or phone 515-334-0075
Feb 5-7; Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo in Indianola--Presentation Schedule Now Being Posted as Presentations are Confirmed!
Canoesport Outfitters has begun posting event details and the Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo presentation schedule on its website. Additional presentations will be added as they are confirmed. Check it out at 
Join your paddling friends at the Expo.

The "Expo" is scheduled for February 5-7, 2016 at CanoeSport Outfitters in Indianola. The event will be celebrating its 20th birthday. Portion of $7 admission fee will be donated to Iowa Rivers Revival "River Rascals" youth program.

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

Nick Gaeta's Annual Pre-Expo Breakfast has moved to the Indianola HyVee at 8:00 am on Saturday, Feb 6. The Indianola HyVee is located on the east side of Hwy 69 as you enter from the north--5 minutes from the Expo. No reservations, just show up and buy your own breakfast, make some new paddling friends, then head over to the Expo. Questions? Contact Nick at

Iowa White Water Coalition Annual Meeting will be held 5:00--6:00 pm on Saturday, Feb 6, at the American Legion Hall, one of the Expo presentation sites. IWC seeks to reconnect the waterways specifically for safe whitewater paddling, but to be inclusive of flatwater paddling and other recreational boating. Election of officers, discussion of issues, plans for coming year.  Meeting is open to visitors, but only IWC dues-paying members may vote. Info at

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.
Hours of family fun awaits those who will brave the cold. Winter sports equipment will be available free of charge from 3:00--6:00 pm, a chili/mac & cheese supper will be served from 5:00--7:00 p.m. and naturalist Chuck Jacobsen and his adventurous friend Jim Schnitzmeyer will present their mid-summer trip to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Refreshments will be available and we've invited other paddlers to promote their favorite trip at booths that will be set-up for viewing throughout the event. Display space is free to paddlers.

The entire family is welcome. This is a free event although donations to support the center are always welcome.
For more information, contact Chuck Jacobsen, Clinton CCB, 563-847-7202, Cell: 563-357-0759
Feb 8; Iowa Rivers Revival Legislative Reception--Mark Your Calendar
IRR Logo
The annual Iowa Rivers Revival Legislative Reception is scheduled for Monday, February 8, from 5:00--7:00 pm at the 
Noodle Zoo, 601 E Locust St #101, Des Moines, IA 50309.

Find full event info at:
Roz Lehman, Executive Director, Iowa Rivers Revival, 515-724-4093,

Apr 2-3; "Outdoor Adventure Fest" in Waterloo/Cedar Falls Seeks Presenters!
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 has been re-branded as the "Outdoor Adventure Fest" 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 suggestions or questions about the event, please email Katie Shelton at

G.Stark photo.  
Apr 5; Natural River Restoration Technical Workshop at Fort Dodge
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 for landowners, farmers, conservationists, educators, and interested members of the public.  
Staci Williams, an Associate Director for American Rivers, will lead the discussion. 

On Tuesday, Apr 5, a Technical Workshop on Natural River Restoration will be held at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.
Find full event info at:


Roz Lehman, Executive Director, Iowa Rivers Revival, 515-724-4093,
Staci Williams, Associate Director, American Rivers, 843-957-2367,

Winter Pool Sessions Continue 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) January 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
Send Us Your Info for the 2016 IWTA Planning Calendar!
Calendar photo 2016We'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 gathered:

Jan 11; Iowa Legislative Session Opens. Find contact info for your legislators at
Jan 16; ICNC Paddle Day, Cedar Rapids. Noon-5:00 pm, presentations, exhibits, door prizes, canoe raffle; 
Jan 16; Des Moines' River Roots (Part 2). 2:00 pm Jan 9, Des Moines.
Jan 18; Martin Luther King Day.
Jan 23; Full Moon. Sunset 5:10, Moonrise 5:11 pm, Moonset 6:50 am, all CST.
Feb 1; Iowa Caucuses. 
Feb 5-7; CSO Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo, Indianola. Three days of presentations, exhibits, dealer reps, spring deals. 
Feb 6; Nick's Annual Pre-Expo Breakfast, note time and site change to 8:00 am at the Indianola HyVee, Hwy 69 at north end of Indianola.
Feb 6; Iowa Whitewater Coalition Annual Meeting at Iowa Paddle Pedal Expo, 5-6 pm.
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 7-10; Upper Midwest Stream Restoration SymposiumMilwaukee, WI. Info at 
Feb 7; Super Bowl 50, San Francisco Bay Area.
Feb 8; Iowa Rivers Revival Legislative Reception. 5-7 pm at Noodle Zoo in Des Moines, info at
Feb 14; Valentine's Day.
Feb 15; Presidents' Day.
Feb 22; Full Moon. Sunset 5:48, Moonrise 6:00 pm, Moonset 6:41 am, all CST.
Feb 27; Iowa Games Winter Events. 
Feb 29; Extra Day for Leap Year.
Mar 5; Outdoor Photography Workshop, Quad Cities.
Mar 11-13; Rutabaga Canoecopia, Madison, WI. 
Mar 13; Daylight Savings Time Begins. Set clocks ahead one hour.
Mar 17; St. Patrick's Day.
Mar 20; Vernal Equinox, First Day of Spring.
Mar 23-24; Iowa Water Conference, Ames. Agenda and photo contest rules at
Apr 2-3; Outdoor Adventure Fest, Waterloo/Cedar Falls. Keynote by Dr. Jim Pease (formerly the NE Iowa PaddleFest).  Katie Shelton
Apr 5; IRR Technical Workshop for Natural River Restoration. Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.
Apr 18; Federal Income Tax Filing Deadline. (Iowa State Income Tax filing deadline Apr 30).
Apr 19; 100th Calendar Day of Iowa Legislative Session; per diem expenses end, traditional target for adjournment.
Apr 30; Iowa 3-Year Boat Registrations Expire.
Apr 30; Iowa State Income Tax Filing Deadline--Remember the Chickadee Checkoff!
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 (likely 100 miles from Eau Clair to Winona on the Chippewa and Mississippi Rivers).
Aug TBD; Mussel Blitz, Dates & Sites TBD; Scott Gritters
Sep 14; VA Vets Paddle, Riverside. Volunteer coordinator Tom Sabotta
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 events or planning info for 2016?
Contact us at

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
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Gregg Stark
Editor, Iowa Water Trails Association Newsletter