South Dakota’s biggest river event celebrates National Park Service Centennial


South Dakota’s biggest river event celebrates National Park Service Centennial

YANKTON, S.D. – The South Dakota celebration of 100 years of the National Park Service (NPS) will pack in paddlers.

The South Dakota Kayak Challenge, on the NPS’s Missouri National Recreational River, returns for its sixth year on May 28. The event attracts paddlers in kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards and more. They come from across North America. More than 80 already are signed up for this year’s event; more than 150 took part in the 72-mile event in 2015.

Paddlers begin in Yankton at 7 a.m. Saturday and end the Challenge in South Sioux City, Neb. The event ends at noon Sunday or when the last participant finishes.

In 2015, competitors from as far away as Oregon and Rhode Island came to the event to see the tranquil beauty of this National Park. A majority of those who take part do so in the Adventure class, which is more focused on completion than competition. Others race the event to win it or set records. All are welcomed and can sign up for $50 (until May 1) online:

The event began in 2010 and paddlers have taken part every year since, execpt for 2011, when flooding led to cancellation. From new kayakers to experienced racers, hundreds now see the Challenge as perfect for paddlers who want to explore, push themselves and experience the Missouri National Recreational River up close and personally.

Registration for the event – for both participants and volunteers – continues through May 15. It’s a great way to celebrate the National Park Service’s Centennial. Learn more about this South Dakota National Park at:

Contact: Jarett C. Bies, 605-941-4940 or


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