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Improve your paddling skills with DNR canoe and kayak schools

DES MOINES —Naturalists, youth group leaders and others who take people out on the water in canoes and kayaks are encouraged to attend one of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) paddling schools.

Participants will learn paddling skills, how to identify hazard and river features, tips for teaching different learning styles, and risk management strategies. Instruction time will be one-third classroom and two-thirds on-water in both lake and river environments, solo and tandem.

All courses will be taught at Briggs Woods, along the Boone River in Hamilton County. The canoe school is limited to 12 participants and the kayak school is limited to 8 participants. This is not a beginner level course; participants should have previous paddling experience. 

The schedule for 2024 paddling schools is:

  • May 21-22, Canoe School
  • June 5-6, Canoe School
  • July 23-24, Kayak School
  • Aug. 6-7, Canoe School
  • Aug. 27-28, Kayak School

DNR paddling schools are designed for either canoeing or kayaking instruction. Make sure you register for your preferred instruction. Registration fee is $65 for each two-day course. Overnight accommodations are not included in the registration fee. Participants have the options to camp, rent a cabin, or stay in Webster City at a motel while participating in the two-day school. 

 To register or for more information, go to Get your registration in quickly, these classes fill up fast.