#PaddleShare: Coon Rapids Dam to North Mississippi Regional Park

 

By: Nancy Duncan, Natural Resource Program Manager, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

Photo by Bethany Birnie

Photo by Bethany Birnie

Starting just below Coon Rapids Dam, this quiet, winding stretch of the Mississippi River is the most remote of the Paddle Share river routes.

Towering tree canopy drapes over the river banks, providing habitat for a growing population of bald eagles. In the backwaters surrounding the undeveloped islands that dot your route, you’ll likely see spiny soft-shelled turtles sunning themselves on logs and driftwood. Keep an eye out for egrets, wild turkeys, turkey vultures, otter, geese, deer, and fox as you paddle downriver.

Depending on the time of year, you may pass an active heron rookery and hear the raucous calls of its residents as they nest and raise their chicks. You may also encounter dragonflies and other insect life landing to rest on your kayak as you relax and enjoy the natural outdoor show.