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OUR OPINION: New era dawns for Red River

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opinion Grand Forks,North Dakota 58203
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OUR OPINION: New era dawns for Red River
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

A common complaint about Grand Forks — "There’s nothing to do" — is about to take a serious hit.

Because this summer marks the "opening" of a breathtaking recreational resource: the Red River, the very same river that runs right through town.


And people from miles around will have a whole new way of having fun.

Ground UP Adventures, one of Grand Forks’ most active and exciting nonprofits, has followed through with its promises and is poised to introduce the northern valley to boating, canoeing and kayaking on and even swimming in the Red River.

On Saturday, the Extreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test (END-WET) is scheduled to host its 36-mile downriver swim, with the finish line in East Grand Forks. Thirty-six miles is a bit much for most swimmers, maybe even most Olympic champions. But there’s no better way to prove that the Red River is clean enough and slow enough (in ordinary conditions, which means below flood stage) to swim in.

Then later this summer, Ground UP Adventures will open its boathouse on the Greenway — a true first in the modern history of Grand Forks.

It could be the start of something big — and for evidence, just look south to Fargo, where a similar organization called River Keepers has been organizing popular Red River activities for years.

In fact, River Keepers hosted its Race the Red event just last weekend — its 22nd annual Race the Red event, a canoe and kayak race.

"I think because once you’re out on the river, it’s prettier than you expect it to be, and it’s kind of a solitude," Christine Laney of River Keepers told Fargo TV station KVRR. Everyone who has been out on the river would agree.

Congratulations and thanks to Andy Magness, the Grand Forks City Council and the many others who’ve brought the boathouse from dream to reality. We’ve come a long way from the 1940s, when the Jaycees in Fargo put up signs reading, "Taking chances doesn’t pay, the river is dangerous night and day."

Tom Dennis
(701) 780-1276