Public Paddle: Paddle the Minnesota River State Water Trail in a Day

6-8-06 Great River Expedition Grant & Maggie (123)

We are doing something we have never done before – attempting to paddle the entire Minnesota River in a single day. Can it be done? We are not sure, but we are joining forces with the Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) and three other partners to sponsor a “Public Paddle Day” on Saturday, June 13.

318 miles seems like a lot of water to cover in a day but with the “Public Paddle” concept, you break the river up into segments and ask different collaborating partners to help facilitate parts of the river. That, coupled with individual participants paddling other parts of the river and reporting, we just might be able to cover all 318 miles.

CURE, along with the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, Minneopa State Park Naturalist Scott Kudelka, the Mankato Paddling and Outing Club, and Wild River Academy are teaming up to help make this possible. Back in January, CURE was contacted by Alex Watson, Regional Naturalist for the Southern Region of the MN DNR and asked if we would help lead a couple of the public paddle portions of this dynamic first-time-ever event.

CURE paddle

CURE will be leading two of these guided paddles:

PaddlesUpImageonRiverThe first paddle will be from Memorial Park near Granite Falls to the Upper Sioux Agency State Park. CURE Board Member, Brian Wojtalewicz, will lead this 8-mile paddle. Participants will have the opportunity to paddle the newly formed Minnesota Falls rapids. Paddlers need to have their own canoe or kayak (no wooden canoes) and plan to be on the water for up to 3 hours. This paddle is for intermediate to experienced paddlers only.

The second excursion will begin at Skalbekken County Park and end at Vicksburg County Park. Peg Furshong, the CURE Events & Adventures Coordinator, will lead this 13-mile paddle, which is in some of the most scenic parts of the Minnesota River Valley. This paddle is for intermediate paddlers who can navigate rapids and paddle for 4 to 5 hours. Participants are encouraged to bring their own canoe or kayak. There will be a few canoes and kayaks available through CURE for this trip by reservation only. For more information and to register, call Dixie at 1-877-269-2873.

To participate in either of these paddling trips, participants must pre-register with CURE by either emailing us at or calling us at 1-877-269-2873.

PaddleMNRiverinaDay-01As you can see, we have about 60 miles covered and thus, a long way from the 318 miles we want to include. We could use your help! If you want to paddle the river that day but want to paddle a different stretch of the river, you can be part of the event by documenting your paddle and when you get home, email He will need your put-in and take-out locations, miles paddled, and number of people in your group.

Other guided paddles you may join are from Judson to Land of Memories Park in the Mankato area, Mack Lake County Park to Fort Ridgley State Park, Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge and in the Twin Cities area from the 35W Bridge to downtown St. Paul. Additional information about the “Public Paddle Day” can be found at Tweet about your experience using #RiverInADay.

If you are out-and-about paddling on June 13 or any day this summer send us your photos and we will post them on our website and Facebook Page. You can also tweet using #CUREadventure. Help us show others what a great place southwestern Minnesota is!

Blog post by Peg Furshong, Events & Adventures Coordinator.