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Kayakers, river recreation rental company awaiting more rain

Published: Jun. 27, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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ROWLEY, Iowa (KCRG) - People who make a living off river recreation welcomed this weekend’s rain, which fell as the latest Drought Monitor shows more than 90% of the state dealing with dry and drought conditions.

One of the effects of those conditions could be seen Sunday afternoon at the Iron Bridge boat ramp in Buchanan County, near Rowley, which offers access to the Wapsipinicon River. While kayakers said the area is typically crowded on a summer Sunday with fair weather, it was quiet this weekend.

“Today we had the river almost totally to ourselves,” Steve Madura of Solon said. “We came up on one jon boat, and that was about it.”

Madura kayaked along the river Sunday with family and friends.

He said drier conditions made for a rougher ride.

“Probably about two or three spots where we had to get out and pull the canoes and kayaks through and get into deeper water,” Madura said.

Companies like River Dock Canoe Rentals, which rents kayaks, canoes, and tubes for use along the Wapsipinicon and Maquoketa Rivers, see the current drought and dry conditions reflected in their business too.

“It has cut down on how many people are renting because they are having to get out some to walk the kayaks because the river is down significantly,” co-owner LaVon Morris said.

Morris said if the river got low enough, they could halt rentals.

“Just because dragging the kayaks on the rocks and stuff is damaging to the kayaks,” she said.

But she added the river is not at that point yet, and she and Madura hope if anything, water levels go up.

“Any rain will help, and the more rain they get up north, the better for us,” Morris said.

“It helps with floating down the river, so I’d always love to see more rain,” Madura echoed.

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