CRWD awards kayak to conclude photo contest; Local paddler wins top prize as part of district’s 10th anniversary

Published 7:51 am Monday, October 16, 2017

By Tim Ruzek

Cedar River Watershed District

After receiving more than 300 images over 16 weeks, the Cedar River Watershed District’s inaugural photo contest concluded last week with a local paddler receiving a free kayak.

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April Murphy, of Austin, received on Wednesday a kayak sponsored by the Austin Runnings store as the grand prize of the Cedar Scenes contest.

Murphy was one of 59 people who submitted photos showcasing scenes within the CRWD’s boundaries to have a chance at being selected by staff for a weekly prize and have up to two entries per week for the kayak drawing. Murphy submitted numerous photos mostly of fishing and kayaking on the Cedar River State Water Trail in Austin.

On Wednesday, Austin Runnings manager Everett Hackensmith joined CRWD administrator Justin Hanson and outreach coordinator Tim Ruzek at the new canoe-kayak access behind Marcusen Park stadium to present Murphy with the kayak. Last week, Hackensmith drew Murphy’s name during a CRWD Facebook live video of the kayak drawing at Runnings.

CRWD plans to bring the contest back in 2018 as it proved popular with the public and went well beyond expectations, Ruzek said, adding that it connected staff with many river enthusiasts.

“It was a lot of fun and very educational for CRWD staff and board members to see how people are enjoying the local waterways as well as what they’re catching for fish and seeing out there,” Ruzek said.

As part of its 10th anniversary, CRWD launched the weekly photo contest in June to encourage the public to take photos or send in older images that showcase the Cedar River and other local waterways within the district.

Although the Cedar River was the biggest focal point, photos featured other waterways, including Dobbins Creek; Wolf Creek; Orchard Creek; Murphy Creek; and Mud Creek. The most-popular areas were Ramsey Mill Pond; Austin Mill Pond; East Side Lake; the stretch of the Cedar upstream from Interstate 90; and the Lafayette Park area.

CRWD offered weekly prizes for the best submitted photo as chosen by CRWD staff, mostly involving $10 in Chamber Bucks to use at most area businesses along with a goodie bag provided by Discover Austin. Some businesses donated weekly gift card prizes, including Cedar River Canoe & Kayak Rental Service; B&J Bar & Grill; and Brookside Campground.

Each submitted photo — a weekly limit of two photos per person — counted as an entry into the drawing for the kayak sponsored by Runnings.

To view Cedar Scenes photos and more, visit the CRWD’s Facebook page at: