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Iowa is adding more whitewater to it’s waterways. Within the last decade Iowa has developed whitewater courses in Charles City and Manchester. Both of these cities have claimed an economic impact from their whitewater river amenities. Ty Graham, Cedar Falls, has been instrumental in developing these whitewater courses.

Another Whitewater Park in Iowa
Riversurfing in Iowa. Surfer: Hannah Ray J PC: Marty Colbert

Now, Cedar Falls is poised to follow suit with building a whitewater amenity and riverside park area on the Cedar River which runs adjacent to their bustling downtown area. Fundraising is currently underway for the Cedar Falls River Park project. Graham is leading a fundraising effort for $25,000 + from the local paddling community.

Another Whitewater Park in Iowa
Aerial view of the Cedar Falls River project.

“This isn’t just about kayaking and surfing. This is about the whole community. This is about people re-embracing their riverfront and coming back down to the water and enjoying the water,” said Graham, who has been working to establish a whitewater park in Cedar Falls for the better part of 20 years.

Another Whitewater Park in Iowa
Ty Graham, circa 2006 playboating in Iowa.

The final price tag for the project is set at $4.2 million, most of which will be covered by grants and other funds. They hope to get $500,000 in private donations. The average size of donations from businesses right now is about $1,000 as reported by Graham.

Another Whitewater Park in Iowa

The river park project will encompass in-river whitewater features for kayakers, SUPers, river surfers and other river users. Riverbank enhancements include put in/take out points, a riverside art plaza, river access/walking paths, and stone seating areas to catch all the whitewater action.

Another Whitewater Park in Iowa

If all goes to plan, construction would start in late fall and last through winter. The river park would be ready to welcome visitors by spring.

If you are interested in donating to the Prairie Rapids Paddlers fund through the Cedar Falls Community Foundation check out this link.

Or checks can be made out to:
CFCF: Prairie Rapids Paddlers Fund
Mail to: CFCF, PO Box 546,
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Also check out the facebook page for updates.

In the words of Ty Graham…See you on the river…or slight above it!

-Hannah Ray J

Check out this video featuring Manchester and Charles City Whitewater Parks, Iowa.