Paddling on Beaver Creek can be a fun and relaxing way to spend the day or an evening with your family.
Running through the center of Johnston, you think that all you see are houses and businesses as you paddle downstream. But as you paddle south from the NW 70th Avenue access, the urban feel and sounds are replaced with ones of nature and peacefulness. If you didn’t know better, you wouldn’t say you are in the middle of town! If you decide to give Beaver Creek a try, there are some safety precautions you should always take.
First and foremost, a personal flotation device should always be worn by everyone, no matter the conditions. Children under 13 years of age must wear a life jacket anytime they are on the water on a moving vessel. This safety equipment can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. Children will feel more comfortable wearing them if the adults are leading by example and wearing life jackets too!
Although it is generally a peaceful and slow-moving creek, high water can create a lot of dangers. Beaver Creek can flash – the creek level will rise rapidly, then fall quickly. It is strongly advised not to paddle Beaver Creek during one of these flash events. The creek becomes quite dangerous, often with trees and other debris floating downstream. Similarly, low water can create situations where you are forced to portage for long distances due to a lack of water. It’s essential to know the conditions before getting out on the creek.
Due to the relatively narrow width of the Beaver Creek, logjams and downfalls can create hazards.
It is essential to understand the signs of these hazards and avoid them. Don’t wait until you are on top of them before you react and try to move around them; it will be too late. Instead, please keep your eyes downstream as you paddle and give plenty of room to avoid them.
The City of Johnston, through assistance with the Conservation Corps, annually clears up significant obstructions in the creek, which helps to maintain a safer route for paddlers. Flash events do create new hazards. Just because the creek has been cleaned doesn’t automatically mean it is safe. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has an interactive water trails map designed in the state. The link to the map is below. It is important to remember this map may not have been updated from a flash event, so always be cautious after any significant rain event.
If you consider all of the safety precautions before going out on the creek, you will experience nature at its finest and hopefully find a new hobby to enjoy for years to come.