search.noResults

search.searching

note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
YOURSELF ON THE MAP. ONE WAY TO PUT PHO T O: L AWRAN CE SIMPSON


Driving across the heartland of America, you’d be hard pressed to notice the exit for Main Street, Charles City, Iowa. Nestled in the endless cornfields of the Midwest lies a quintessential small American town, just off the freeway. A grid work of streets supporting some 7,500 friendly residents runs parallel to Main, and trees form a sinuous green sheath along the Cedar River, which wan- ders through downtown. Ten years ago, Charles City council identified 28 acres of flood mitigation


property to rehabilitate along the riverfront. Architect Larry Kurtz suggested the usual options to improve urban green space—playgrounds, picnic areas and walking trails—but he also encouraged Charles City to consider the ad- vice of his friends Steve Williver and Ty Graham, who happened to be pad- dlers. “I think they strong-armed Larry into adding a whitewater feature,” laughs Bob Kloberdanz, Charles City’s park board chair. Welliver and Graham pointed to towns in Colorado, where whitewater


parks frequently show up at the center of successful urban renewal projects. For all its cornfields and negligible topography, Iowa has a surprising surplus of water. In Charles City, a decrepit, seven-foot-high low-head dam on the Cedar River could be dismantled to provide enough gradient for waves and holes. “We had no idea about whitewater,” says Kloberdanz. “It was totally not on our radar.” That quickly changed. “There was a realization that [kayakers] were exactly the type of people


we wanted to attract to our town,” adds Ginger Williams, Charles City’s tourism coordinator.


PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF“


ROLLERCOASTERS. THEY WANT TO GET ACTIVE AT HOME. WITH A WHITEWATER PARK, YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO ON A TRIP TO THE ROCKIES. YOU CAN HAVE AN ADVENTURE EXPERIENCE DOWNTOWN.”


Today, Iowa is an unlikely whitewater oasis. Charles City completed its proj-


ect in 2011, and the nearby towns of Manchester and Elkhader followed suit with parks of their own in 2014. Williams gets a kick out of gazing at the license plates of the vehicles that roll down Main Street with boats strapped to their roofs. Boaters come from all around the Midwest to paddle the Cedar River’s three engineered features. Admission is free, the Cedar flows year- round, and city lights on bridges enable 24-hour surfing. “People come from all over to paddle here,” says Williams. “It’s really put our town on the map.”


44 | RAPID


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68