Minnehaha Creek: High, swift and dangerous -- so stay away

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 2, 2013 - 12:21 PM

After seemingly endless rain, officials are advising holiday week paddlers to stay away due to high water.

hide

A young man ran from behind the waterfalls at Minnehaha park on Monday afternoon. High water along Minnehaha Creek is prompting safety warnings to canoeists and kayakers as the long July 4th weekend approaches.

Photo: JERRY HOLT• jerry.holt@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The relentless rain of this spring and early summer has made Minnehaha Creek resemble a thrill ride of sorts, with water whipping around bends, gushing rapids and downed trees blocking some stretches.

The popular Twin Cities creek is so dangerously high that it’s flowing at double the volume of what’s deemed safe, prompting the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District to advise canoeists and kayakers to stay away just days before the long July 4th weekend.

“I’ve never seen it anywhere close to where it’s at now,” said Patrick Meehan, who lives three blocks from the creek in south Minneapolis.

He and his wife are avid canoeists on the creek, but have canceled this week’s paddling plans after seeing the high-water warning. It just wouldn’t be fun battling the swift current and dodging downed trees, he said. “Even the best canoeists will be fighting it,” he said.

The 22-mile creek flows from Lake Minnetonka to the Mississippi River. The Watershed District says paddling on the creek is safe when water leaves the lake dam at a rate between 75 and 150 cubic feet per second. Anything over 150 cubic feet per second is deemed dangerous. This weekend, the flow reached 300 cubic feet per second, dropping to 250 cubic feet per second by Monday.

“It’s definitely user-beware,” said Watershed District spokeswoman Telly Mamayek, adding that canoeists and kayakers should use extreme caution if they venture out on the creek or consider rescheduling their treks. “People like to be on the creek … but people need to be mindful of the conditions.”

Danger highest on rivers

Across Minnesota, lakes and rivers are swollen from the repeated rains this spring and summer. On Monday, the state Department of Natural Resources warned boaters statewide to use caution over the long weekend. A no-wake zone was issued by the DNR on the St. Croix River from Taylors Falls to Prescott, Wis.

The high water levels are especially dangerous on rivers and large streams, where swift currents and extra debris can make boating more treacherous and increase the likelihood of capsizing.

On Minnehaha Creek, it’s also difficult, canoeists say, to clear the roadway bridges because the water is so high.

The last time the water flow into the creek reached 300 cubic feet per second was in 2011 after a snowy and rainy season and before that, in 2006. The record in recent years is in 2002, when the creek reached 350 cubic feet per second.

In St. Louis Park, the creek is brimming along the bank through Ken Gothberg’s back yard. Even though he’s an experienced canoeist, he won’t venture out on it until the water lowers and the current slows, he said.

“Plan on getting dumped out several times and running into obstructions,” he said of canoeists who do brave the rushing current.

Meehan, in Minneapolis, agrees after watching kayakers try to navigate the waters, the highest he’s seen in his 15 years on the creek.

“It’s been pretty dramatic,” he said. “Last summer there was a drought and you could literally walk across it. And this year, it’s almost overflowing.”

 

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141 Twitter: @kellystrib

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 69 3rd Qtr 3:46
Cleveland 71
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 29 2nd Half 17:19
Illinois State 26
Louisville 40 2nd Half 17:40
Pittsburgh 34
UMBC 8 1st Half 10:52
Albany 14
Niagara 4:00 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
Northeastern 73 1st OT 1:38
Elon 75
(7) Maryland 79 2nd Half 0:50
Indiana 66
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 37 2nd Half
Washington St 27
Tulane 29 2nd Half 15:41
South Florida 42
(14) Kentucky 43 2nd Half
Missouri 40
(9) Oregon State 36 2nd Half 17:44
(13) Arizona State 25
Vermont 17 1st Half 7:49
UMass Lowell 23
Iowa State 16 1st Half 5:48
(8) Texas 20
Southern Ill 9 1st Half 12:03
Wichita State 16
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close