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Water Level, Debris Make Minnehaha Creek Unsafe For Paddlers

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(credit: CBS) Jennifer Mayerle
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You may have to change your Memorial Day weekend plans if they include canoeing or kayaking down Minnehaha Creek.

The recent rain caused high levels on Lake Minnetonka. As a result, water is being released into the creek to lower it. The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District warns the release is causing unsafe conditions.

Canoers aren’t taking any chances. Soren Carlson chose Grays Bay instead.

“It’s incredibly high. It’s coming up on the banks, lapping up,” Carlson said.

Water is being released from Grays Bay dam into the creek, causing unsafe paddling conditions.

“It’s the highest we’ve seen in a long time,” said Thomas Canfield of Hopkins.

Canfield sees all the problems from his backyard.

“When you get fast water like this, it causes logs and big bogs to float down the creek,” he said. “And we have kind of rapids here and the logs will get hung up in different areas.”

Last weekend he saw canoes crash into each other and tip over. He saw a bigger accident just a few days ago.

“A canoe came and tipped over up there, it banged in, hit this big log you can’t see and it got stopped in the water,” Canfield said. “Three or four people … and the one lady banged her knee.”

Telly Mamayek of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District warns people to not canoe or kayak until the water levels are lower, calling it a safety issue.

“It’s anyone’s guess, you know, what could happen to someone who is on the creek when it’s running so high and so fast with debris in the water and some underpasses not passable,” Mamayek said. “Certainly one wouldn’t want to put themselves in harm’s way.”

Another place to be aware of this weekend is the St. Croix River. There is a no-wake restriction in effect from Taylors Falls to Prescott.

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