Category Archives: Canoeing/Boating

Casts and Blasts from the Governor’s Paddle on the Kaw

– You can CLICK HERE to see the original article about floating the Kansas River, and how communities are working with state officials and a river preservation group to put more access points on the Kansas River.

Ten students from Wamego High School were part of the Governor’s Paddle the Kaw float on Thursday.

– Last year the Kansas River was designated a prestigious National Water Trail by the federal government. It was only the second river to get such a distinction at the time, and is still one of less than 15 rivers to qualify.

– The float started at the access point just of Highway 99, on the south edge of Wamego. It’s a very nice access point with a ramp, good toilets and decent parking. It’s also within walking distance of most of town. The float ended at the new access point just south of Belvue, which is about 3/4 of a mile from town.

–The float is about 10 miles, but the two towns are only about six miles apart, which would make dropping off a take-out vehicle very easy.

– Amid the estimated 100 people on the float, were 10 members of the Wamego High School Outdoor Recreation Class. Several adults commented that it was fun having the well-behaved youth along. Colton Brown, a sophomore, said of the float, “It was very awesome,” and that he plans on floating the river again.

– It was Gov. Sam Brownback’s first sustained float on the Kansas River…mine, too.

– On Thursday the river’s flow was moderate, but a southeast wind pushing upstream made for quite a bit of paddling. There was enough water that most people didn’t have to drag their canoe or kayak unless the purposely went too close to a sand bar.

– As far as I know, only two canoes or kayaks tipped. One included Robin Jennison, Wildlife and Parks secretary and Ron Kaufman, Wildlife and Parks director of information services. Kaufman is now two for two on dunking nice cameras in the Kansas River on float trips.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was impressed with floating on the Kansas River. He told other paddlers he’d like to see more people enjoy the river,

– That they were able to come up with enough canoes and kayaks to float about 100 people down the river was impressive. The Friends of the Kaw provided several. Brownback and Jennison both credited the river preservation group for being major players in opening opportunities along the Kansas River. They also said former governor and former Wildlife and Parks secretary Mike Hayden had been instrumental in getting the public better access, too.

–Roger Wolfe, Wildlife and Parks river access coordinator, said they have two locations picked for possible access points between Belvue and Topeka. If those ramps are built, it will give the public access about every ten or 12 miles the length of the Kansas River.

– The float was indeed very scenic and enjoyable, but I’m guessing I’d have seen more wildlife had the size of the flotilla not been so huge. I really had it easier than about anybody on the float. Charmion Harris, of Milford and very experienced paddler, took care of most of the paddling while I worried about photography. I had my cameras in a dry bag between my knees for most of the float.

– Wildlife and Parks now offers a really nice map for floating the Kansas River. You can CLICK HERE to go to a website for more information.


Arkansas River Float Thursday evening

As they have sooooooo many times in the past, the Arkansas River Coalition wants to share the river they care so much about Thursday evening. I’ve copied their entire press release below.
If you’ve never been on a ARC float, I can promise you they’re a great bunch of volunteers who are passionate about  getting more people interested in the Arkansas River.
Note the part below that says they an furnish equipment for those without. Also, no experience necessary.
Arkansas River Coalition Twilight Float for Thursday, June 27, departing by 6:30 p.m.


Contact Info: Contact Vince Marshall, e-mail:, home: 755-1473 or cell: 680-9669 to RSVP or for information.
Float Description:  On the Arkansas River in South Wichita, this is about a 3-mile course  that includes passage beneath several road bridges and a railroad bridge.  We will paddle along some mostly wooded river banks.  At this time, the river has more water available for a rather decent float.  The paddler will still need to search for that elusive deeper channel.  It probably will be a hot day with some wind.

Float Starts:  On the Arkansas River, accessed from near the Water Center at Herman Hill Park in South Wichita.  This park can be accessed from a north entrance on Pawnee west of the intersection with Broadway.

Float Ends:  Below the S. Hydraulic Street bridge over the Arkansas River.  The landing point is in the Chapin Park which has an drive entry south of the bridge.

Timetable:  Gather at the launch site around 5:30 p.m.; at about 6:00 p.m. run a shuttle on Pawnee and down Hydraulic St. to park vehicles at the landing site; back to the launch site and on the water by 6:30 p.m.; land boats and be off the river by sundown.

Suggested supply items:  Bring drinking water, a snack, sun protection, bug repellent and the usual safety and essential gear.

FootwearTo protect against sharp rocks, broken glass and other debris is case you need to exit your boat in the water, wear sandals, sneakers or boots- no flip flops.
REQUIRED- Bring a completed waiver of liability forms can be downloaded from the ARC web site,,

Need a kayak to participate in this float?  Contact Vince Marshall as soon as possible to make arrangements.  In any case, let Vince know byWednesday, June 26, if you are going on this float………

 CostThere is no cost for joining our floats which are made possible by voluntary, tax deductible, donations from friends, supporters and participants like you- $15 donation suggested when using ARC supplied equipment.  Please make donation checks payable to The Arkansas River Coalition, Inc.  In case of cash donation, write the amount of donation on the back side of your waiver of liability form.
The Arkansas River Coalition is much more than just a paddle club.  If you are not a member of ARC, please consider joining to support it’s mission to protect, restore and improve the entire watershed and enhance the well-being of all life it sustains.  Membership forms may be downloaded from our web site,

Boaters Beware, some local lakes have hazardous conditions

Wichita maybe enjoying a wet spring, but beware if you’re heading to a local lake. Water conditions are low enough in many places to make for hazardous boating.

Still 6.6 feet below normal, Cheney Reservoir has more challenges than normal. El Dorado Reservoir  could be flat-out dangerous.

“Even with the rain, we’ve come up a whopping 4/10ths of a foot this spring so we’re still about 4.4 feet low. It’s been a while since we’ve been this low this time of the year,” said Craig Johnson, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism fisheries biologist for El Dorado. “There are places where you can be a couple of hundred yards off shore and still only be in ankle-deep water. There are a lot of trees (near the surface) where I don’t remember seeing them in the past.”

Shane Eustice, who regularly boats and guides anglers at El Dorado, fears the timing for such low water could accentuate the problems.

“A lot of people are really going to be anxious this weekend to finally get out, and they’re just going to jump in their boat and go,” he said. “I’m afraid someone  could really get hurt.”

Johnson told of someone who bought a new boat last Wednesday, then wrecked the lower part of the motor in a shallow area the next day at El Dorado. He’s surprised it hasn’t happened more often.

“I see a lot of people going fast in their bass boats, ripping across some of these (hazardous) areas,” he added. “They either know the lake really well, or they’ve just been really lucky.”

Eustice and Johnson say boaters should be careful around all points of land that jut out into the water. Often the water is only inches deep. It’s sometimes the same where old roadbeds go into the lake. Easily boated over a year ago, many areas now could struggle to float a canoe.

Both lake experts said the water several hundred yards off Bluestem and El Dorado Point areas will probably be too shallow for safe boating. Eustice spoke of a sizable island about 400 yards off Bluestem Point that’s so low many boaters may not see it. Even if they do, water on both sides of the island is probably too shallow for most boats.

“You just have to respect every point you go around,” he said. “People just won’t believe you may be 600 yards from shore and still not be in safe water.”

Other potential dangers are where timber was left standing along original river and creek banks when the lake was filled. Through the years many of the long-dead trees broke at various heights. Eustice said hidden trees that once let boaters pass over with no concerns could now lead to a damaged boat, or worse if people are thrown from boats that hit the obstacles at high rates of speed.

At Cheney Reservoir, fisheries biologist Jeff Koch said boaters don’t need to worry about striking flooded timber, but some of the areas close to shore could be too shallow for safe boating. “You just have to plan on staying several hundred yards off shore on the main lake, and if you get closer, do it slowly,” Koch said. “It’s way too shallow up north, but I can’t think of anything in the middle of the lake that could be a problem.”

Simply getting a boat launched on to Cheney could be the biggest problem. Koch said the only operational ramp is in the state park on the east side of the reservoir.

Two boat ramps, the west ramp in the Boulder Bluff area and another east of Shady Creek Marina, are closed at El Dorado. Johnson said boaters should show caution around some courtesy docks because of shallow water conditions.


Ark River Coalition Float Saturday, on the Kansas River System

Talk about making the right decision! A few weeks ago the Arkansas River Coalition postponed a planned float on the Kansas River System near Junction City because of cold and snow. Their rescheduled date of April 6, this Saturday, when the temperatures are supposed to be in the 60s, sounds much, much better.

Below is a copied press release from the Ark River Coalition.

If you’ve never been on an Ark River Coalition event, it’s your loss. While the group of volunteers dedicated to helping protect their favorite river by sharing it with as much as the public as possible can’t control things like stream levels and the weather, their generosity and dedication are as good as any conservation group in Kansas.

Please note they’ll furnish equipment for those in need, with proper notice.

FLOAT COORDINATOR Wally Seibel.  Contact-  email or home 316-684-0730.

Cell contact on 4/6/13 at launch site – Vince Marshall at 316-680-9669

MEETING TIME:   Meet at the put in at 9:00 am and begin shuttle soon thereafter.

1.  On Saturday, April 6, drive to Junction City (about 112 miles, 2 hours drive).
2.  Meet at the Grant Ave. (becomes Custer Rd.) Republican River bridge access site.
3.  Run a shuttle to/from the Ogden river access site (exit on K-18 and Ogden interchange).
4.  Return to Junction City and launch float.
5.  Enjoy a float down the Kansas River (river terrain & water flow similar to that of the Arkansas River….in a good year that is!)
6.  Lunch on a sandbar along the float route.
7.  Stop at the Ogden access point by mid-afternoon….day paddlers finish and head for home.
8.  Overnight campers shuttle vehicles, and continue the float to a camping location on a sandbar on the Kansas River below Ogden.
9.  On Sunday, April 7, paddlers finish the float to the Manhattan access located beneath the south end of the K-177 bridge.

REQUIRED:  A signed waiver of liability is required of each participating paddler.  All participants must
wear a PFD (life jacket) while on the water; no exceptions.

REQUIRED IN COLD WEATHER (water and the air temperature both below 60 deg. F.):  Unless you are an experienced paddler equipped with ‘high tech’ gear we will want to verify that the listed requirements >are met.  Cold weather paddling presents special challenges and dangers. In case of a spill, all soaked, wet clothing must be removed very quickly and be replaced with dry to prevent hypothermia. We will be prepared to quickly make a warming fire where possible and carry towels, sleeping bags and warming blankets.

1.  Do not wear garments like jeans and sweatshirts made of cotton, they are heavy and very cold when wet and take forever to dry.  Wear garments of man made fabrics or wool; wool retains it’s insulating properties even when damp or wet.
2.  Wear boots that will keep your feet dry in water up to 12 inch depth.
3. Bring a complete change of clothes secured in a dry bag. If you don’t have a dry bag, a trash compactor bag with the opening twisted, turned back on itself and rubber banded makes an excellent substitute.
4. Layer your clothing, the amount of clothing for a cold morning needs to be adjusted when the sun rises in the sky and you are paddling hard.
PROHIBITED:  Consumption of alcoholic beverages is strictly not allowed while floating or during rest lunch stops.

MEDICAL:  Participants should be in good health and good physical condition.  It takes extra time and expense, which a participant needing assistance will be responsible for, to receive medical attention while on the river.

NEED A KAYAK?  We have loaner kayaks, paddles and PFDs available.  If you need a kayak please let Wally at or 316-684-0730 as soon as possible.

COST There is no cost for joining our floats which are made possible by voluntary, tax deductible, donations from friends, supporters and participants like you-$15 donation suggested when using ARC supplied equipment. Please make donation checks payable to The Arkansas River Coalition, Inc.