Minnesota is Introducing a New 'Canoe Share' Along the Mississippi River

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Minneapolis and St. Paul are some of the nation’s most bike-friendly cities. Soon, they’ll be two of the most boat-friendly ones as well.

Both Smithsonian’s Erin Blakemore and CityLab’s Anna Bergren Miller report that the Twin Cities will kick off a combination bike-canoe and kayak share next year. The program will encourage day-trippers to explore the mighty Mississippi River—which originates in Minnesota’s Itasca County and flows south through the Twin Cities—without investing in expensive outdoor equipment.

The endeavor will combine already-existing bike and boat-sharing programs, and will be funded by the National Park Service, Recreational Equipment Inc., and the U.S. Department of Transportation. A swath of the Mississippi River will be allocated for recreational use, and canoe/bike stations will be positioned at strategic launch points so that city-dwellers can explore the river’s length by land or water.

Although officials are still figuring out logistics like check-out procedures and membership fees, the bike-canoe share is expected to be ready for peddling—and paddling—by summer 2016.

[h/t Smithsonian, CityLab]