Conservation Connection: Floating in Missouri

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) -- Missouri’s many floatable rivers and streams are your ticket to a relaxing day on the water, an outdoor adventure, or access to great fishing and wildlife watching. 

Dan Zarlenga with the Conservation Department talked with John Fuller about some tips about setting out on the water and also to introduce helpful resources the department offers for floaters.

Q. What are some advantages of floating?

  • Great way to spend time with family and friends
  • Also good for seeking solitude (when going at the right times)
  • Excellent way to discover nature—floating can put you in a great position to see wildlife
  • Provides an ideal platform for fishing
  • Can be a good workout

Q. What are the two most popular types of water crafts for floating?

  • Canoes
    • More traditional in Missouri
    • Can easily hold 3 or more passengers
    • Plenty of room for coolers and camping gear
    • Commonly available from all outfitters
    • Kayaks
      • Have become popular in the last couple decades
      • Can be faster and more maneuverable than canoes
      • Typically built for solo paddlers, but some tandem models available
      • Space more limited than canoes
      • Easier to store and transport than canoes
      • Different kinds (long and narrow optimized for flat water, and shot wider for whitewater

Q.  What are some things folks should remember to bring with them?

  • Life jacket (PFD)!
    • Even strong swimmers should wear one
    • Look for one with large arm openings to make paddling easier
    • Plenty of water and food
      • Avoid dehydration!
      • Paddling can burn lots of calories
      • Sun protection and bug repellant
      • Dry clothes and rain jacket
      • Good river shows like sandals or water shoes
      • First aid kit
      • Large sponge to soak up water from the boat
      • Dry bags to protect gear
      • Trash bag
        • Don’t litter!

Q.  You have some great resources to get floaters started, what are they?

  • Newly revised Paddler’s Guide to Missouri
    • Regularly $8, but only $6.40 through August
    • Guide to 58 streams and rivers, including maps and features
    • MDC website
      • www.MDC.mo.gov
      • Includes a searchable list by river of float outfitters statewide