Michael Pearce

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.