Paddleshare: No Need to Own

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Public voices have been heard when it comes to movement and travel.  Sites and services such as Airbnb, Uber, and bike sharing companies may have been the inspiration for the newest addition to the rental sharing industry. PaddleShare allows Minneapolis and St. Paul residents to rent a kayak with a paddle and life jacket and sightsee the Mississippi River.  Stirred up by a coalition of organizations led by the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, put together a group of 300 people that took part of a trial period in the summer of 2016 to test out this new program.  In June 2017, PaddleShare became a full program with increased availability of kayaks to service the Twin Cities waterway adventurists.

Paddleshare’s first two stations located at North Mississippi Regional Park and at the Lowry Avenue Bridge will allow renters to cruise the urban sights like the heron rookery and a variety of other islands nestled in between both shores and industrial warehouses.  One can even take a pit-stop at one of the local hot spots Sample Room or Psycho Suzi’s along the way to the final drop off spot at Boom Island Park.  PaddleShare is paired with Nice Ride bike stations to give an option for people to easily get to destinations once they are done with their trip.  PaddleShare rates range from $20 for a single-person kayak to $40 for a two-person kayak and allow the renter up to three hours before they must return their vessel to a station.

A program like this has large growth potential with MN covered in potential waterways that could pull a high demand for kayak renters that would enjoy traveling the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St. Croix Rivers.  The day when a family or bachelor party can rent a handful of kayaks and paddle from Northern MN down to the cities on a rental are possibly in the near future.

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