The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 12, 2013

Seeing Minnesota by water via DNR trail system

PINE CITY, Minn. (AP) — Alligators. Seems like there should be alligators, the photographer said as we found the Snake River current that would take us eight miles downstream to Pine City with minimal paddling on our part.

The rain-swollen river, running more than 2 feet higher than average for late June, left the maples that shaded its banks standing in water. The resulting landscape resembled a Florida swamp — and meant we wouldn't venture ashore until we passed under the Interstate 35 bridge and reached the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources boat launch.

The DNR's state water trails program turned 50 this year. What started as a local effort on the Minnesota River has grown to 33 trails — including the Snake — covering 4,529 miles, the St. Cloud Times reports (http://on.sctimes.com/12EQ3H5 ).

"When people think of Minnesota and canoeing, they have a tendency to think of the Boundary Waters because it's this iconic, highly visited destination for a vacation that's typically between three and 14 days long," said Erik Wrede, the DNR's St. Paul-based water trails coordinator.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness attracts paddlers from around the world. But not everyone has that much time or money to spare.

"That's the beauty of the water trails system, is it's right in everybody's back yard. There's a state water trail within an hour of most people's homes in Minnesota."

Obvious choices for St. Cloud include the Mississippi and Sauk rivers. I wanted to explore something new within a two-hour drive. Something matched to rusty paddling skills. Something scenic. Slow moving. With an outfitter that provided shuttle service.

Sauk Rapids DNR staff extolled the beauty of remote campsites overlooking Class III and IV rapids on the Snake River, then recommended a segment of flat water that remains relatively undeveloped. Wrede, who routinely fields requests from trip planners, confirmed the choice would fit the bill.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Man accused of abusing 2 girls in 'Maidens Group' MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities were searching Tuesday for a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing at least two girls in a "Maidens Group" at his religious fellowship in rural Minnesota, where he told one victim she would remain a virgin

    April 15, 2014

  • Deputy shot, wounded in Norman County PERLEY, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say a 19-year-old man from Fertile is under arrest for shooting a sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop in northwestern Minnesota. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says the Norman County deputy was wear

    April 15, 2014

  • Red River Valley touted as drone industry center THIEF RIVER FALLS (AP) — Dozens of representatives from agriculture, aviation and higher education are meeting in northwestern Minnesota to discuss ways to promote the region as a center for development of the aircraft industry which produces unmanne

    April 15, 2014

  • Balancing Act: The secret weapon behind work life balance We all struggle for work life balance, but most of us don’t realize that sometimes the path toward achieving might be something so simple. Some of the most successful people I know are sharing their secret weapon for remaining strong and finding bal

    April 15, 2014

  • Police: Suspected killers wore GPS devices ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Two convicted sex offenders dutifully checked in with police every month and wore their GPS trackers around the clock — the rules of parole that are designed to tip off authorities if a freed felon backslides. Yet for at least

    April 15, 2014

  • More US consumers are seeking medical care, report shows A historic slowdown in U.S. health care spending in recent years may be drawing to a close. An industry report published this week and health care experts point to a steady rise in medical care being sought by consumers seeing specialists, getting m

    April 15, 2014

  • Man sentenced to 20 years in synthetic drug case FARGO, N.D. (AP) — One of 15 people to plead guilty in a synthetic drug conspiracy that resulted in the overdose deaths of two teenagers has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Casey Rosen (row-ZEEN') pleaded guilty in January 2013 to conspiracy to

    April 14, 2014

  • White House news group honors black reporter it once barred WASHINGTON — Harry S. McAlpin made history in February 1944 when he became the first black reporter to cover a presidential news conference at the White House. Time magazine and The New York Times noted the milestone. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

    April 14, 2014

  • Worn down by health problems, woman discovers art of living MILWAUKEE — For the second time in her life, Tessa Koller sat in a hospital examination room listening to a doctor deliver bad news. A defect in her coronary artery required surgery. She was 25. Tessa heard the doctor say something about “sudden dea

    April 14, 2014

  • Illinois Lottery app stirs up controversy SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — When Illinois launched its first-in-the-nation lottery app in January, Matthew Ruder quickly signed up so he could jockey for jackpots with just a tap of the finger on his smartphone. “It’s really easy to buy lottery tickets on t

    April 14, 2014

Press-Plus Subscribe
Sign In
Featured Ads
AP Video