The section of the Mississippi River that stretches through the Twin Cities isn't typically considered a paddler's paradise. But take part in the Mississippi River Challenge July 25-26 and you will surely come away with a new appreciation for the Great River. This event is sponsored by the group Friends of the Mississippi,
which seeks "to preserve and restore the river's fish and wildlife, its vital floodplains and scenic bluffs, its natural and cultural treasures, its beauty and its romance."
It is a wonderful opportunity for paddlers of all skills levels to experience a "new view" of the river that includes:
Paddling through three locks
Stretches of what seem to be near-pristine wilderness right in the core of the cities
Camping in an historic fort
Live music and great food
The opportunity to learn about the history, the ecology, and the culture of this great river
A chance to connect with other local paddlers and river enthusiasts, and more!
Paddlers have the choice of making it a one- or two-day event. Put-in is located at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park with the final take-out at Grey Cloud Island, south of the cities. Boat rentals are available for a small fee: canoe ($30), recreational kayak ($30), and sea kayak ($60).
Camping is provided at Historic Fort Snelling for paddlers, family members, friends and supporters on the night of July 25. Night at the Fort includes a meal (vegetarian and vegan options available), live music, cold beverages and historic actors. Camping is free for registered paddlers and $20 for attending adults that wish to only stay the night and partake in the activities that range from interpretive presentations to free massages.
Registration and pledging for the event are open. All shuttles and events are covered by the registration fee that is only $50 for adults (16+) through July 1, $60 for adults thereafter, and $30 and $35 for children. For registration and more information visit the Mississippi River Challenge