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
  • 1 hurt in fiery Twin Cities interstate crash ROSEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say one person was hurt in a fiery crash involving four vehicles on a Twin Cities interstate. The crash on Interstate 35 brought morning traffic to a halt during a rainy commute. The Minnesota State Patrol says a

    July 25, 2014

  • Black box found at Air Algerie wreckage site PARIS (AP) — French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason f

    July 25, 2014

  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border MOSCOW (AP) — The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east. Ukrainian forces are trying to close in

    July 25, 2014

  • Deal still elusive for Gaza cease-fire CAIRO (AP) — Turbulent negotiations to broker a temporary truce in the Gaza Strip are continuing against the backdrop of fresh Israeli attacks on Palestinian militants. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban

    July 25, 2014

  • Transcript shows concerns during Arizona execution FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent — and unusual — request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't seem to be workin

    July 25, 2014

  • Sniper-Author-Ventura [Duplicate] Day 3 of deliberations ends in Ventura lawsuit Jury has deliberated 19 hours

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man accused of stealing from group HASTINGS (AP) — An Apple Valley man is charged with five counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $113,000 from a Rosemount youth athletics group. Sixty-two-year-old Robert Steven Reischauer was the former finance manager of the Rosemount Ar

    July 24, 2014

  • Sanders offers lower-cost bill to reform VA Bill would allow vets to go to private doctors

    July 24, 2014

  • Wetland Loss [Duplicate] Report says Prairie Pothole region losing wetlands BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal officials and conservationists say a recent report detailing wetland losses in the five-state Prairie Pothole Region over the past decade highlights the need for increased protection for the region that provides breeding

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • France: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, the plane's owner and a French government official said. Air navigation services lost

    July 24, 2014