Waterway Jay Begins Second Half of Paddle for Progress

Challenges Minnesotans to Think About Their Connection to Water 

On May 8th, Waterway Jay Gustafson begins the second half of his project, Paddle for Progress. A continuation of the 2017 season, Gustafson will complete 18 of 34 remaining water trails across the state he has not yet paddled. He will begin this season on the North Fork of the Crow River near the town of Manannah, MN. Gustafson is challenging all Minnesotans think about their connection and interaction with water as a first step to improve its quality across the state.

“Because roughly half of our water is considered contaminated in some form, I took on this project as my fulltime work,” he says. “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, ground water, and our wells.”

 Prompted by Governor Dayton’s call for a Year of Water Action in 2017, Gustafson decided that he could no longer stand idly by. “I care too much about what’s at stake,” he said. “I know that there are likeminded people and organizations out there, and I’m working with them now. I aim to create an awareness and engagement campaign that makes it clear that we must all take ownership at all levels and coordinate solutions together.”

 Waterway Jay will paddle into October, spending nearly 6 months raising awareness of the endangered health of Minnesota’s rivers; he calls for collaborative, community efforts to find solutions. “If we’re going to improve our water quality and change our current trajectory, we must all be aware of the problem and be willing to find solutions where we live.”

Gustafson is actively 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.”

Track Waterway Jay’s Journey

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.


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.