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The National Park Service Will Attend the South Dakota Kayak Challenge

Paddlers entering the annual South Dakota Kayak Challenge this weekend will be the first to officially race down one of the newest additions to the National Water Trail System, according to reporter Derek Bartos.

King of the air NPS photo
King of the air NPS photo
National Park Service
The designation offers extra protection for the waterway

This year the annual South Dakota Kayak Challenge begins with check-in and activities Friday, May 24 in Yankton, South Dakota followed by the race down the Missouri River on Saturday and Sunday.

This year the National Park Service will add an extra level of excitement to the intensity and anticipation that usually precede an important competition. According to Derek Bartos, of the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan, “In conjunction with Friday’s safety briefing, the National Park Service (NPS) will hold its ribbon cutting and official dedication of the Missouri National Recreational River (MNRR) Water Trail”

There is always an incredible degree of excitement when a river or other waterways of designated a National Water Trail by the (NPS) and the National Water Trails program, according to the Canoe and Kayak Magazine.

“This morning (December 19, 2013) the National Park Service added three waterways to its National Water Trails program, including a 147-mile section of the Missouri River in South Dakota, and scenic routes in Michigan and Iowa. The new trails bring the number of trails in the program to 14.”

Typically, a National Water Trail means that everybody benefits, the local community, the state and especially paddlers. However, the waterway might be the biggest winner. In 2013, Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director of NPS, stated, ‘These National Water Trails provide exemplary close-to-home places for people to explore and enjoy.” In addition, “I am particularly happy to have these trails added to the system. They are cooperatively supported and sustained through efforts of community, state and federal partners.’

This year according to Bartos, Dugan Smith of the (NPS) stated, “Local people know it’s a great resource and a great place to fish and hunt and kayak and canoe on.” In addition, “We want to spread the word to the nation and the world that, if you want to take an adventure on the river, this is the place to come.”

Bartos emphasized that the (NPS) designated Missouri National Recreational River (MNRR) for several reasons. One of which is that it proves opportunities for local paddlers, the community and visitors with recreation and travel nearly all year round. “The designation offers extra protection for the waterway, more funding and resource opportunities and added promotion for the recreational activities available.”

South Dakota Tourism Secretary James Hagen and Lieutenant Gov. Matt Michels were present for the ribbon cutting ceremony, along with Jarett Bies, co-founder of the South Dakota Kayak Challenge. At least 123 paddlers were on hand to the historic event.

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