The Supply Canal: Scenic Canoe Trips Await
Can you identify the locations of these photos?
No, they weren’t taken along a wild and scenic river, or at some national park. These photos were taken along Central’s Supply Canal, which runs from just east of North Platte to east of Lexington. Many sections of the canal wind through high banks, and narrow canyons.
The public is permitted to use the entire length of the canal for recreational purposes, excluding areas around Central’s three hydroelectric plants and NPPD’s Canaday Steam Plant. Portages around check structures are relatively easy, but getting around the hydroplants requires a lengthier overland trek. Launching a canoe or kayak may be difficult in some spots because of the shoreline protection materials (in most cases, broken concrete riprap). Many sections of the canal are paralleled by maintenance roads or state and county roads. The flow in the canal is relatively constant year-round, the water is 15 to 20 feet deep in most places, and the current is not rapid (no whitewater stretches), although caution should be exercised when approaching check gates.
The 75-mile-long Supply Canal and its many canyon lakes are used for hunting, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, camping and fishing. Only wakeless boating is allowed on the canal to prevent bank erosion.
Also, when planning a canoe or kayak trip, it’s a good idea to remember these helpful hints from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission:
- Wear your life jacket.
- Take a spare paddle.
- Don’t canoe alone.
- Have tether ropes on both ends of the canoe.
- Take insect repellant.
- Take ample water.
- Take sunscreen, sunglasses, and wide-brim hat. The sun’s reflection off the water can be intense. If it is hot, start early or later in the day and make the trip shorter.
- Put extra clothing, gear, and food in water-proof bags.
- Take rain gear, but not ponchos.
- Take first aid kit. Learn what poison ivy and poison oak look like, as well as black widow and brown recluse spiders.
- Avoid contact with livestock and wild animals.
- Protect your feet with tightfitting wading shoes.
- Camp only in designated areas. Obtain permission prior to camping on, or entering the water from, private land.
- Read maps and plan ahead. Be off the water before dark.
- TRASH: If you create it, e.g., cans, bottles, food wrappers, etc., pack it out. Don’t discard it in the water.
- Build fires only in fire rings; drown flames and coals after use. If no fire ring exists, use only camp stoves.
- Use caution when loading and unloading near highway or county bridges.
- And remember, Nebraska’s weather can be unpredictable and prone to extremes of temperature, humidity, wind and rate of change. Summer storms rapidly form, are fast-moving and can have rain, hail, high winds, lightning, and tornados combined. Pay attention to signs of bad weather, get off the water and take cover as quickly as possible if a storm is approaching.
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