Minnehaha Creek too dangerous for kayakers and canoers

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 21, 2014 - 9:07 PM
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A couple checked out the fast water flow just above Minnehaha Falls.

Photo: Bruce Bisping • bbisping@startribune.com,

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Minnehaha Creek has reached dangerously high levels for kayakers and canoers this Memorial Day weekend.

On Wednesday, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District advised paddlers to stay off the creek because of unsafe conditions. With high, fast-moving water, downed trees and other debris, some bridge underpasses aren’t navigable.

The 22-mile creek flows from Lake Minnetonka to the Mississippi River through the cities of Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Edina and Minneapolis.

Last week, the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District put high-water restrictions in place, prohibiting boaters from going more than 5 miles per hour within 600 feet of shore. As of Wednesday, the lake’s water level was at 930.33 feet — an increase of 2.64 inches since Monday.

In response to the high lake level, the watershed district is discharging water at the Grays Bay Dam at a rate of 300 cubic feet per second. The district says paddling the creek is safe when water leaves the dam at a rate of 75 to 150 cubic feet per second. Anything over 150 cubic feet per second is deemed dangerous.

The last time waterflow into the creek reached 300 cubic feet per second was last summer and before that, in 2011 and 2006.

For more details, go to minnehahacreek.org.

KELLY SMITH

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