NEBRASKAland April 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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Page 33 of 79

L ook up the word "kayak" in the dictionary and the first words you see might describe a small, light canoe-like vessel, made watertight with coverings of animal skins, developed by the Inuit long ago to fish and hunt. That definition, especially the part about the animal skins, is poles apart from what you are likely to see floating the surface of your local lake or gleaming on the floor of your nearest outdoor retailer. Without doubt, though, the Inuit were on to something when they first began using this innovative watercraft in Greenland thousands of years ago for hunting and fishing to feed their families and communities, and they would love to see how far their innovations have come. During the past decade or so, kayaks of the plastic variety have progressed from being something of a novelty in Nebraska to a common sight at lakes and rivers of all sizes. Once people climb aboard these modern vessels, they come to understand the magnetism of this national trend. Users love that modern kayaks are lightweight and provide freedom for the independent-minded floater. Even It has taken a few thousand years, but adaptations have made kayaks one of the most popular vessels afloat. Are you looking to go plastic? By Justin Haag Pictured is a vintage 1873 engraving showing Inuits seal hunting. Kayak Evolution 34 NEBRASKAland • APRIL 2017 PHOTO BY JEFF KURRUS

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