Urban canoeing: North/Northeast Minneapolis

Back in July, my friend, Joe, and I were laid off during the state government shutdown. It was a stressful time, not knowing if or how the shutdown would end and having to cut back on expenses to make up for lost income. We decided to put our worries behind us for a day and make the most of our time off by taking a canoe trip down the Mississippi River.

We started under a rainy sky in North Minneapolis, at the Camden Avenue bridge boat launch. I had never paddled the northern section of the Mississippi as it passes through Minneapolis. It’s an industrial stretch of river, but plans have been developed to transform it into a more attractive and accessible destination, much like the river’s character further downstream.


A highlight of our trip occurred just above the uppermost lock on the Mississippi River, near Saint Anthony Falls. As we explored the northern channel around Nicollet Island, we paddled past a ceremony honoring the ratifications of an Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds attended by Mayor R.T. Rybak and several other environmental enthusiasts. A local news station filmed us paddling by to highlight the outdoor recreation potential of urban rivers and the importance of conserving them. Check out my sweet J-strokes!

The City of Minneapolis recently held a design competition for the stretch “Above the Falls.” The video accompanying the winning proposal is below. As a resident of Northeast Minneapolis (river left), it’s thrilling to envision an inviting riverfront right in my neighborhood.

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