Chasing the Channel – Blog No. 23

Chasing the Channel – Blog Post No. 23

Photo by Dawn Buehler

Spring is such a busy time at FOK, that I often feel like I’m chasing from one thing to another.  As Kansas comes alive again with outdoor activities and meetings, it is an exciting time!  We love connecting with all of you after a long winter, and this one has been long! 

When I last left the blog post, a few of us were embarking on a 173-mile-long river check.  As Kansas spring would have it, we made it exactly half way and had to abandon our plans due to forecasted 50+ mph winds and rain.  We know that we must set the example as well as make smart and safe decisions for ourselves, so we decided that the river would be there for another day to complete our river check.  We did enjoy a beautiful trip from Junction City to Topeka.  We camped on the sandbars and literally chased the channel as the sandbars were in full view.  The river was really active with all types of ducks and the bald eagles showed off their glory. 

New kayak trailer build in process.

Back in the office, it was time to get ready for our season. This effort is not simply pulling out the kayak trailer and hitting the road.  No, it is much more than that.  We have to complete maintenance on the trailer, boats, and gear.  We replace old lifejackets and paddles and help our Education Coordinator, Denise Kidder, get ready for the education season.  First Aid kits are replenished and ropes and tie downs are checked.  At FOK, we all do the dirty work from volunteers to staff to board members, and we are happy to do it! 

Beginner Paddle was fun!

We held our first Beginner’s Wednesday and took about 50 people out paddling on the Kansas River for the first time.  We have more events coming up, so be sure to check one out.  This is a great way to get hand on experience with one of our Kaw River Guides.  We have many other events scheduled this year including Beginner Camping and our Members Events.  We are also launching the KAW 173 Challenge this year – to encourage you to paddle the entire Kansas River (watch for more soon!). The best way to watch for all of these events and be the first to know is through our newsletter. 

Hopefully by now you have all seen our updated Kansas River Access Map!  With funding from Evergy, we were able to give the map a big overhaul.  So many hands were in this project from staff to volunteers to our board.  We will be giving a presentation with Google for their Geo for Good Lightning Talks Series #9 Outdoor Recreation & Sustainability!  We are super thrilled to be a part of this event.

For a quick update with the Kansas Water Authority, we held our meeting in Emporia in April.  We heard an update on the legislative activities involving water including opportunities to pay down debt on federal reservoirs, full statutory funding of the $8M into the Kansas Water Plan Fund, and pay down of the John Redmond Bond. If all of these items come to fruition, this could be one of the best years for water funding in a long time.  That said, to fully fund the State Water Plan will require much more, upwards of $55M per year. Reaching that goal will be our next challenge.  To stay up to date, follow along with social media from the Kansas Water Office or look for meeting dates and times on their website:  https://kwo.ks.gov/news-events/calendar

Kaw River Guide Workshop 2022

We also held our annual Kaw River Guide Workshop last weekend to a great crowd!  Some joined us for the first time, while others came to reconnect with each other.  This is one of my favorite events of the year and by far some of my favorite people.  Our Kaw River Guides give their time and talents to our collective efforts for the Kansas River, and none of our work could be done without them.  You can still join us. Attending the workshop is not a requirement, so reach out to me today if you have your own boat/gear and want to get involved.  We could use your help!

Please consider donating to our efforts to remove these tires from the Kansas River – and many more!

Lastly, we are always in fundraising mode as the only non-profit dedicated to the Kansas River and a non-governmental public advocate.  We rely on donations from our members to keep things going.  While fundraisers help us much of the year, we must continue to fundraise for our activities.  We have a healthy schedule this season to educate youth and public, cleanup our river and advocate for protection.  Please consider a donation today towards our efforts!  You can donate here:  https://kansasriver.org/donation/?did=1

Our team scouting the tire site in the pouring rain!

We went out last week in the pouring down rain and scouted the next big tire cleanup site.  There are SO MANY TIRES.  Thanks to all of you – through donations or your volunteer efforts – we will get it done!  Save the date for Saturday, October 15, 2022 for a big effort.  We are gathering our partners, but we already have Every Green Team and Kansas Backcountry Hunters & Anglers ready to go!  Together, we can do more. 

We hope to see you on the river this season.

May you always have sand in your shoes.

For the river,

Dawn Buehler

Kansas Riverkeeper

It’s Paddle Season!

It’s Paddle Season!

Paddle season is here and you can join Friends of the Kaw for your first or next river adventure! We have big events coming up including Beginner Wednesday’s, Beginner Camping, and our popular Educational Paddle Trips including Bugs, Biodiversity & the Kaw coming up May 21 and a Water Quality Paddle on June 25! Find all of our events and sign up information on our event calendar!

Chasing the Channel – Blog No. 22

Chasing the Channel – Blog No. 22 Checking the entire river….. Picking up tires on the Kaw. Photo by Dawn Buehler It sure seems like winter keeps hanging on.  If you know me, then you know.  I’m all about summer!  My husband … [Continue reading]

Chasing the Channel – Blog No. 21

Chasing the Channel - Blog No. 21 Kayaking the river on one of the nice days last week. Photo just upstream of Wamego. Photo by Dawn Buehler I went out on the river over the weekend just before the sleet and snow arrived.  I did catch … [Continue reading]