A Paddleer's Guide to the Streams and Lakes of the Black Hills
J. Kelly Lane, ed., A Paddler’s Guide to the Streams and Lakes of the Black Hills (Rapid City, SD: Black Hills Paddlers, 2013)
So a couple of disclaimers might be in order. First of all, the editor, Kelly Lane is a good friend of mine and I’m predisposed to like the things he does. He really cares about the quality of the water in and around the hills and he really enjoys paddling. He is a natural teacher and he likes to teach about paddling. Secondly, I pretty well know about the waters of my home turf and don’t need a guide. I bought the book to support the paddlers, who are a group of really good people. Then to the technical disclaimers: There are no lakes in the Black Hills. There are reservoirs, and some of them are fairly large. And it is a stretch to call some of the waters that they refer to as streams as anything more than trickles. But the book is hones and the truth is that when we have the right storm, there are flash floods that radically change stream flows. And in the normal course of events, there are some places that can be paddled if one is willing to really work at it.
I’m not much of a creek boater, though I have a good play boat. Most of my paddling in the hills takes place on Sheridan Lake, a reservoir a few miles from my home. When I get the hunkering to paddle down a river I tend to choose out of state locations. Having grown up in Montana, the Yellowstone and Missouri are more natural for me.
Still, it is a good and accurate guide written for paddlers by paddlers. There is a lot of potential for fun for those who are looking for adventure. There is also a good section on licensing boats and what has to be displayed where on our craft. South Dakota has some rather strange laws concerning titles, licensing, and bow numbers. All in all, it is a good book for everyone who wants to paddle in the Black Hills to own.