Johnston Mayor Paula Dierenfeld (above) leads a group of kayakers on Beaver Creek in Johnston, where she and others christened a new access to the waterway. Well-dressed Principal Financial Group chief and water trails supporter Dan Houston (right) prepares to take a spin in a kayak at Tuesday’s groundbreaking for a Johnston carry-down canoe and kayak launch site. This is one of the first projects to be completed as part of a $117 million Central Iowa recreation plan intended to capitalize on more than 150 miles of waterways by improving more than 80 recreation sites. Also planned are whitewater courses in downtown Des Moines and a string of water-based recreation spots to be developed as part of West Des Moines’ Five Waters Project. A boathouse at Blue Heron Lake in West Des Moines is expected to be open next year. Photos special to the Business Record