Safety and rules on Minnesota state water trails


Plan a safe trip

  • Plan your trip with a map and tell someone your plans before you leave, including your expected put-in and take-out times.
  • Make sure your route fits your experience and fitness levels. The average paddling speed is two to three miles per hour.
  • Travel with a companion or group, and know everyone's skill level.
  • River levels can affect your speed and trip safety. Check conditions before you go.
  • Don't underestimate the power of wind and waves, especially on large lakes.
  • Be cautious of obstacles in the river and avoid overhanging and dead trees.
  • Bring clean drinking water and a waterproof container with a first aid kit, waterproof matches and extra clothes.
  • Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. Each paddler is required to have one readily accessible.
  • Purchase a license for your non-motorized watercraft if it’s more than ten feet in length. If you're not from Minnesota, check your state's watercraft license laws.

Protect the river

Your experience on the river depends on a healthy environment. As you explore the beauty of this waterway, also do your best to protect it.

Before launching...before leaving:

  • Clean off aquatic plants and animals.
  • Drain all water away from the landing.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
  • Learn more.

Buffer protection

The Minnesota buffer law establishes new vegetation buffers along rivers, streams and ditches to help filter out chemicals and sediment before they reach waterways.

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