125 miles in the Upper Minnesota River paddled by CURE Members


On June 11, National Get Outdoors Day, CURE partnered with the MN DNR for year two of the “Paddle the Minnesota River in a Day” event.   The Minnesota River Trail is 318 miles long beginning at the foot of Big Stone Lake and ending at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.  


The goal for the day was to get as many people as possible working together to cover all 318 miles of the water trail.  “The Minnesota River connects so many people in our state,” said Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Regional Naturalist Alexander Watson. As of Friday, June 10th all 318 miles were claimed by volunteers and of that just over a third were claimed by CURE members.

CURE organized three public paddles with the first of those paddles led by  CURE board member, Brad Fernholz and his son Gavin.  This 9 mile paddle featured a trip to Minnesota’s largest pelican rookery on Marsh Lake – one of only two nesting colonies of the white pelican in the state. The second paddle was led by Erik Hatlestad and Jianhuan Qian from Kinney Landing to Upper Sioux Agency State Park.  The third paddle went from Skalbekken County Park to Vicksburg County Park just south of Renville.  CURE Events & Adventures coordinator, Peg Furshong, lead this 15 mile paddle which featured seven sets of rapids, 4 eagle nests and a variety of birds and small animals along the way.

wood kayak

In addition to the three public paddles, other stretches were led by Glenn Gelhar, Peter Dahl, Terri Dinesen, Erik Kittelson, Tom Kalahar and Paul Tinklenberg.

CURE members that helped tackle seven different parts of the Upper Minnesota River: Faye & Justin Merrit family, Sean Zhang, Glen Jacobsen, Brad & Gavin Fernholz, Glenn Gelhar, Teresa Noyes, Judy Drown, Cecelia Pohlen, Kjersha & Devin family, Cheryl Landgren, Paul Tinklenburg, Erik Hatlestad, Chris & Gracie Kleven, Erik Kittelson, Jianhuan Qian, Terri Dinesen, Tom Kalahar, Andrew & Michelle Tucker, Peter Dahl, Gregg & Nancy Hedlund, Sherolyn Bahl and Warren Rau. Special thanks to Dixie Tilden, Steve Petrich and Duane Ninneman for shuttle support.


If you are looking for ways to get connected with nature, please visit the CURE website or the CURE Facebook page for event listings and times.  CURE is a member organization that relies on annual dues and donations to support our Events & Adventures Program.  For more information on becoming a member or supporting our work please click here.


Minnesota River facts

  • The Minnesota River is the state’s largest tributary to the Mississippi River.
  • The river is approximately 332 miles end to end.
  • The Minnesota River Valley drains a watershed almost 17,000 square miles.
  • The river valley can be as wide as 5 miles and 250 feet deep.
  • It was carved by the enormous glacial River Warren between 11,700 and 9,400 years ago.
  • It is the only river in North America that begins and ends with a National Wildlife Refuge.
  • The Minnesota River is often considered one of the top ten most polluted rivers in the country.
  • There are thirteen rivers that flow into the Minnesota River. (Little Minnesota River, Whetstone River, Yellow Bank River, Pomme de Terre River, Lac qui Parle River, Chippewa River, Yellow Medicine River, Redwood River, Cottonwood River, Little Cottonwood River, Blue Earth River, Rush River and the Credit River)