A new kayak and paddle club has been formed as a response to diversify the lake, focusing on the water sports of kayaking and paddleboarding. The club, founded by Steve Dubbs and Naomi Creech, does not have an official name yet, but feedback is being taken on Naomi’s Facebook page: Naomi’s Bike & Paddle Rental.
“The whole thing came about during the process for creating the scenic byway,” said Dubbs, who was instrumental in the creation of the byway. From the Lake Mille Lacs Scenic Byway (which was founded in July of 2018 and was the first one established in 20 years, making it the 22nd scenic byway in the state) came the Lake Mille Lacs Water Trail which is a Lake Superior style water trail for kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding.
The proposed 20-mile route for the water trail weaves in and out of the shoreline from Wahkon and Isle to Malmo. Dubbs said a number of public meetings were held to get feedback for ideas around the lake, and at almost every meeting, people would say “kayaking.”
“Someone suggested we should do a Lake Superior style waterway which is relatively easy to do with resources already in place,” said Dubbs. “Naomi came into the picture with starting her business and has now taken it and run with it.”
The group intends to promote and teach the sport of kayaking, along with promoting the lake. “And just be social and have some fun,” Creech added.
Creech said that the club will also help bring the community together for a good cause to raise funds for groups such as veterans, church or suicide awareness.
The group held their first event in August which included a kayak trip to tour Spider Island leaving from Wahkon City Park and Wahkon Bay. There was a great turnout with 54 paddlers.
The next event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, and will begin at Isle City Park. The event will be a trip around Malone Island and will take about an hour. People can admire the new Malone Island bridge on the cool waters of Mille Lacs and take in the fall color. The event is free and open to the public. Kayak rental will be half price if a participant doesn’t own one. More information can be found on Creech’s Facebook page, “Naomi’s Bike and Paddle Rental.”
The kayak tour will return just in time to kick off the 3rd Annual Soup Slurp in Isle, and participants can enjoy an opportunity to check out the local museum.