Off The Clock: Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris
Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris is a lobbyist and advocate for a number of groups, including Girl Scouts. But he has an adventurous side when he’s “off the clock.” He likes to trade the doldrums of sitting in an office for the great outdoors. Harris is an avid kayaker and says Bassett Creek is one of his favorite places.
“I try to get out here at least a couple times per summer,” he said.
On Tuesday afternoon, he navigated the creek, dodging tall vegetation. Bassett Creek winds through Plymouth, Golden Valley, Crystal and Minneapolis, before eventually spilling into the Mississippi River.
“It’s nice and quiet,” said Harris.
From Herons to Dark Tunnels
He prefers the calm waters of the creek compared to lakes, unless it’s the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
“There’s a lot of birds around, you definitely get your fair share of herons,” said Harris about Bassett Creek.
Harris says kayaking is not for the faint of heart.
“There’s rocks in certain spots, or veins as they call them where there in ‘v’ shapes, or vector shapes, to try to reduce the current and to help protect the shoreline,” Harris explained.
Dark tunnels can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. A few years ago he encountered a tunnel near Highway 100 and couldn’t see where he was going.
“Going into a dead end, we had no idea that it was dark, and fortunately as we turned a curve, we saw some light.”
Despite sometimes challenging circumstances, Harris says kayaking is relaxing and wishes others would take advantage of this hidden gem.
“It just gives you a different dimension of what our community is like and how beautiful it is.”