New Kayak and Canoe launches can be found throughout the City of Crookston on the Red Lake River. There are a few main locations that went up back in May of this year, and according to Parks & Recreation Supervisor Scott Butt, the plan would be to install more down the road if the city can receive another grant.
Butt talked about the reasoning to put the launches in place and its benefit to the community. “The biggest thing that went into this decision and process was that the money came from the Red Lake River Corridor grant system,” said Butt. “We were able to put up the kayak launches as well as the fishing piers out of the grant money, and it will really add a more accessible way to get on the river for everyone. Before, the only access to the river was near where the boat landing was on the bypass road, or Central Park.”
Some of the launches are handicap accessible and will give people a much easier way to get onto the river without the hassle they once experienced. The main locations are located near Wildflower Park across from Riverview Hospital in Crookston, another one-off Woodland if you go up and over the bank. There is also a pad located near Highway 2 and 9, where you can walk out and go into the river.
Butt talked about how Kayakers and canoers can make their trip on the river as long or short as they want, now that there are multiple locations spread out on the river. “You can make your day, as long of a voyage as you want or as short as you want,” said Butt. “There are plenty of points where you can get on and off at several spots, and in my opinion, it has turned things into a much easier and user-friendly situation.”
Each launch has instructions on using and easily getting in and out of the river with ease. Butt helped install the launches around Mother’s Day and talked about what took place during that process. “The original installation was done by the company we bought them from,” said Butt. “When we then take them out to put them in the water, we try and take them out in as big of pieces as we can, but there are always other little pieces that will need to be put together. The hardest part is getting them down to the river itself; once that is accomplished, installing them goes fairly smooth.”
Butt also talked about the things they consider when installing the launches and what can affect the process. “You are kind of at mother nature’s discretion as far as when you can get them into the river,” said Butt. “It’s also one of those deals where you have to look at the river level to determine how far in or out they need to go, and at the same time, you need to remember the ramp leading down to the launch can only go so far out. So those are all things that are considered during that process to make sure we do it right and that it’s easy for the people to access.”
Butt says the goal is to always get the launches in as early as possible, but that the weather plays a role in the timing every year. Butt believes the addition of the launches will be a great benefit to the community. “Those are the main locations, and I really feel they’re a great benefit to the community.”