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Everyone can enjoy the lakes and rivers of the Yankton area. It’s frustrating when you travel to a beautiful place by the water, only to discover that there’s really no easy way for visitors to get their feet wet. That won’t happen to you in Yankton. Here you can sunbathe, swim, fish, boat or tube on some of the most scenic waters in the West. The entire 2,341-mile Missouri River is an amazing and beautiful corridor that begins in Montana and ends at its juncture with the Mississippi in St. Louis. The old river has been changed by dams north of Yankton and channeled for flood control and navigation below Sioux City. Consequently, a 60-mile stretch of the river from the Yankton dam to Sioux City is the last truly natural, wild stretch of one of the world’s great rivers. For centuries, the Missouri was the main road to the West for Native Americans, fur traders and settlers; in many ways the river is even more important today. It’s probably one of the reasons you visit our area. Here are some tips for a 21st century explorer like yourself who will probably arrive on wheels but who wants to experience our waters. LEWIS & CLARK LAKE Five miles west of Yankton on Highway 52 you’ll find a picturesque 30,000-acre lake that was created when the Missouri River was dammed in the 1950s. Be sure to tour the local fish hatchery and aquarium (no charge) where you can look into the eyes of paddlefish, sturgeon and other amazing river fish. Numerous camping and cabin facilities are available on both the Nebraska and South Dakota shores. Gavins Point Dam includes a powerhouse that generates electricity. Tours of the power plant are available (no charge) in the summer months. Call ahead (402-667-2546) to schedule your visit. Just below the dam is Lewis and Clark Marina. Just look for the towering masts of several hundred sailboats docked there, along with pontoons, houseboats and other lake vessels. Boats and water toys may be rented at the marina. Maybe you’d prefer to just relax and frolic on the lake’s many sandy beaches that are part of Lewis & Clark Recreation Area. Restaurants, bait shops, beach clubs, antique and craft shops and other interesting shops will be found along the highway. THE MIGHTY MO Of course, east of the lake flows the legendary river. That “wild and scenic” stretch begins just below Gavins Point Dam, which is good to know if you want to fish, “tube” or canoe the river. The Missouri has a strong current so wear a lifejacket and be smart. It’s a wonderful recreational river but it demands your respect. Always put safety first. Tubing has become very popular. The Missouri’s water is clean and comfortably cool by early June. You can rent tubes, canoes and kayaks or bring your own. vWATER continued on page 11 Yankton, South Dakota – 9