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The Iowa DNR will officially designate the South Skunk River in Story County as a State Water Trail on Wednesday, June 24. The Story County Conservation will broadcast the event on Facebook Live beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The water trail begins in Story City and ends at the southern edge of the Story County line. This segment of the South Skunk River is popular with paddlers, anglers and mixed-use trail users. The effort to designate it as a State Water Trail began in the mid 2000’s. State Water Trails help re-connect Iowans to their history, heritage, geology, and wildlife. A water trail promotes caring and raises awareness of the environment.
“In my previous experience with the establishment of State Water Trails in North Central Iowa, I have personally witnessed the positive impacts of water-related outdoor recreation,” said Pat Shehan, special projects ranger with Story County Conservation. “Designating the South Skunk River as a State Water Trail will only further enhance the already popular South Skunk River, encourage use and enjoyment by the public, and bring additional awareness of issues such as water quality and need for improved recreational opportunities in Iowa.”
Todd Robertson, outreach coordinator for the Iowa DNR said, “There has been an explosion of river activity lately, especially with tubing and kayaking. With that comes the need to communicate, maintain, and manage the river resource. Water trails do that. They help river users with signage, maps and brochures, but there are also maintenance and management responsibilities identified among the water trail partners”.
Viewers who tune in to the Facebook Live broadcast will hear from DNR Director Kayla Lyon, DNR Water Trails Coordinator John Wenck, Story County Conservation Board Chair Dr. Jim Pease and several representatives of the Skunk River Paddlers. If the weather cooperates and water levels are adequate, an inaugural paddle down the river will conclude the ceremony.