The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.
Q: I want to go on a paddling trip this spring, but don’t have time to go to the Boundary Waters. Any suggestions?
A: The DNR manages the first and largest water trails system in the nation. Water trails are recreational routes on waterways that are managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping. There is a state water trail within an hour of most homes in Minnesota.
The DNR and its partners manage more than 4,500 miles of routes and more than 1,500 facilities (public water accesses, campsites, portages, and rest areas) on 32 rivers and the North Shore of Lake Superior. Most of the campsites are free, unless otherwise noted on the maps. Check out www.mndnr.gov/watertrails to find free paper maps, an interactive online map, river level reports, safety tips, outfitters, and a list of organizations and paddling clubs that sponsor paddling events.
Spring is a great time to get out paddling, but the water temperatures may still be cold even on a warm day. Be sure to wear your life jacket, and bring an extra set of clothes in a waterproof bag. Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be off the water. And before you go, check the DNR’s river level map at www.dnr.state.mn.us/river_levels/index.html.
Erik Wrede, DNR water trails coordinator