Heartland residents share stories of the Des Moines River

People prepare to paddle down the Des Moines River in Bentonsport, Iowa.

Early Saturday morning, Heartland residents gathered in front of the Des Moines River Water Trail in Bentonsport, Iowa. They unloaded canoes and kayaks and prepared to travel nearly six miles down the river as part of the "Through the Eyes of the River" event.

This isn’t your typical boat ride, what they’re doing here as they kayak and canoe down the river towards Keosauqua, is telling stories about the river. They’ll be making a couple stops along the way, talking about what settlers did and picturing some of the things the river may have seen during it’s time.

Event organizer Brittney Tiller says "Through the Eyes of the River" is just one of 10 paddle events the Iowa Department of Natural Resources holds in Van Buren County.

“One of the great things about these paddles are it gets people out in the water and kind of reminds them of the great resources that Iowa has. A lot of times I think we overlook how beautiful our state is and it’s a good reminder that there’s a lot of adventure here in our own state that you can be a part of if you’d like to be,” said Tiller.

Lois Albrecht was one of the participants of the event. She served as the sweep on the river. Her job was to make sure everyone stayed ahead of her and there were no stragglers behind. Albrecht says she’s been kayaking for the past six years and really enjoys the views that come with it.

“I like to be on the water because you can really see nature, you can see a lot of birds and sometimes other wildlife and plants. And, because it’s very relaxing and you meet nice people," said Albrecht.

Saturday morning’s event was an official Des Moines River Water Trail event but was also co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Jefferson County Conservation.

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