Nice Ride, Nice Paddle

If approved, a new kayak-sharing service in the Twin Cities will be the first of its kind in the nation


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CANOEING ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. PHOTO BY JEREMY NELSON.

Paddling down a river takes a bit of strategy when it comes to configuring how you’ll get to and from your destination on dry land—usually one vehicle is parked near the finish line, and another vehicle totes kayakers to the starting point. But now, kayaking in the Twin Cities may become easier, and more accessible than ever.

Launching as a pilot program on August 11, nonprofit Mississippi Park Connection will offer a kayak-sharing rental service located near existing Nice Ride bike-sharing stations. This program is pending on Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approval, but is already generating excitement—it could be the first of its kind in the National Park Service, encouraging urban dwellers to reconnect with the natural elements that are so close to home.

For $30, you will be able to rent a kayak (from Winona-based Wenonah Canoe), a paddle, and life jacket to travel 4.5 miles down the river starting at North Minneapolis Regional Park and ending at Boom Island. Then, hop on a Nice Ride bike to pedal back. And you won’t have to worry about your kayak—Wheel Fun rentals will drive them back to the park for you.

The journey isn’t recommended for first time paddlers, but as you work on your skills, Mississippi Park Connection continues to offer outdoor and natured-oriented programs throughout the entire year including River Action Volunteer Events, art exhibits within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, guided group bike rides, free Second Saturday nature lessons, and more.

Read more: 17 ways to get your nature fix—without leaving the Twin Cities

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