Canoe/Kayak Launch on Middle Fork of the Zumbro River Completed
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Dodge County now has a canoe/kayak launching spot near County Highway 24 on one bank of the Middle Fork of the Zumbro River, a public watercourse that is a designated State Water Trail managed by the DNR Parks and Trails Division.

In early October, Conservation Corps MN & IA AmeriCorps Members joined three county employees in clearing about five miles of the waterway of downed trees and other debris from the launch site downstream to Zwart’s Landing in Pine Island. The section runs along County Road 24 from Dodge County Road 11 to Olmsted County Road 3. The group loaded chainsaws and axes into canoes and set off to help make the river navigable for canoes or kayaks. Those involved in the endeavor were Conservation Corps Staff Member Eddie Dittmer, Field Coordinator; Conservation Corps MN & IA AmeriCorps Members Tarryn Hanson, Crew Leader; Austin Schulz, Field Specialist; Zachary Stortz, Crew member; and Ashley Maier, Crew Leader. Dodge County Environmental Services employees were Melissa DeVetter, County Project Manager; Jackson Miller, Environmental Program Manager; and Samantha Johnson, Environmental Administration Technician.

This will be the first county public access site for the State Water Trail located on the Middle Fork of the Zumbro River.

Melissa and Jackson explained that the county received funding from the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy fund to have the Conservation Corps of MN & IA clean up the river. The ‘cleaning’ involves removing any debris from the water course, so it is passable by canoe or kayak.

How did the county end up with this land? In September 2010, the property was flooded and because of the size, shape, location, and potential for future floods, the site was deemed unsuitable for a building site.

The county acquired the property through a Flood Damage Reduction grant in 2012 from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

As part of the county’s comprehensive plan, staff members have been seeking ways to increase public access to public waters for recreation in connections with the State Water Trail System.

This property was a perfect fit.

Workers for the County Highway Department have done work at the site to smooth out the bank of the river and lay down erosion control on the property to make the walk-in launch location.  

Water sports enthusiasts can start using the site any time. Melissa noted, “Potential users of the watercourse should observe the level of the water course. During low water, it is easier to float with a kayak rather than a canoe.”

The launch site is located on the south side of County Road 24 about one quarter mile east from the County Road 24 and County Road 11 intersection.

Link to the DNR State Water Trail:

Link to Recreation in Dodge County: 

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