Waterway Jay Launches Second Season On North Fork Of Crow River; To Paddle All Of State’s Water Trails

Jay Gustafson has started his second season of paddling to complete all of the state’s waterways and call attention to our water resources and their condition. He is shown paddling the Minnesota River last September in this Tribune file photo.


Jay Gustafson is back on the water, ready to take on the second half of his project, Paddle for Progress.

Last year, Gustafson quit his job and began a two-year effort to paddle all of the state’s water trails, a total of 4,500 miles. This season he has 18 of the 34 trails remaining to cover.

Gustafson planned to launch the second season on Tuesday near Manannah, with the goal of completing the North Fork of the Little Crow River, according to information from Gustafson.

Known as Waterway Jay, Gustafson is calling attention to our water resources, as well as challenging Minnesotans to think about the condition of our water.

“Because roughly half of our water is considered contaminated in some form, I took on this project as my fulltime work,” said Gustafson in announcing his 2018 season. “I believe that it is critical for Minnesotans to understand that this is not an issue that solely impacts recreational users. Every one of us is connected to water in some fashion. We all use it to cook, bathe, and drink; our everyday actions can positively or negatively impact lakes, rivers, groundwater, and our wells.”

He plans to paddle into October to complete the remaining trails.

He is seeking partnerships with those who share his passion for water quality in Minnesota. “I am excited to continue to engage folks I meet along the way about water in their community. I hope to share information about local organizations and their current water oriented projects that people can become involved with as a next step.”

You can follow Gustafson’s progress on his website: https://www.waterwayjay.com. He can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter searching: @waterwayjay. Updates on rivers, events, photos, and progress will be available throughout his journey.

Gustafson is seeking support through funding and logistics to continue his work on, Paddle for Progress. A list of remaining rivers and tentative dates is below if you can assist with transport. Waterway Jay also has an active GoFundMe campaign set up that can be accessed at the following address: https://www.gofundme.com/paddle-for-progress.


If you or an organization you are involved in would like to find ways to partner with Waterway Jay, please contact him directly at: waterwayjay@gmail.com.


   Remaining Rivers and Dates 2018


  1. North Fork of the Crow River: May 8-12
  2. Snake River: May 22-26
  3. Chippewa River: May 29-31
  4. Pomme Terre River: June 1
  5. Pine River: June 3-5
  6. St. Louis River: June 13-20
  7. Cloquet River: June 22-25
  8. South Fork of the Crow River: June 28-July 3
  9. Mississippi River: July 6-30
  10. Big Fork River: August 2-8
  11. Little Fork River: August 14-19
  12. Vermillion River: August 26-27
  13. Kettle River: August 29-31
  14. Otter Tail River: September 5-11
  15. Red River of the North: September 12-30
  16. Red Lake River: October 2-7
  17. Crow Wing River: October 9-13
  18. St. Croix River: October 15-21