DNR Question of the Week
By: Erik Wrede, DNR water trails coordinator, Lake County News Chronicle
Q: Because of their flat hulls, canoes and kayaks can navigate just about any body of water, but are there trails specifically designated for these types of activities? If so, where are they located and where can a person find information about them?
A: Minnesota has more than 4,500 miles of routes mapped and managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping. There are 33 state water trails with a network of more than 1,400 public water accesses, campsites and rest areas. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages the first and largest water trails system in the nation, which started 50 years ago. A variety of opportunities are available - ranging from placid rivers ideal for beginners to challenging whitewater rapids to sea kayaking the North Shore of Lake Superior. In fact, there is a state water trail within an hour of most homes in Minnesota.
Remote camping on state water trails is generally free and non-reservable. There are also 34 state parks and recreation areas on state water trails where people can reserve a campsite for a fee. Free maps, river level reports and other trip planning information can be found on the DNR’s website at www.mndnr.gov/watertrails.