Paddles Up Niagara, the signature event of the Niagara River Greenway Commission, will take place Saturday, July 28, at Beaver Island State Park.
Beaver Island State Park along with the Town of Grand Island, Anchor Marine and WEKANU will host the day's activities, with the centerpiece being the non-competitive paddle from the Little Beaver Launch site around to the East River marsh site returning back to Little Beaver, all within the Beaver Island State Park, a 4.8-mile journey.
The day begins with a poker run at 7 a.m. followed by the Paddle Fair at 8:30 a.m. During the Paddle Fair portion of the event, paddle sports retailers and company representatives will give the public an opportunity to try out canoes and kayaks. Beginners and enthusiasts alike will also have the opportunity to learn more about paddle sports safety and the natural, recreational and cultural attributes of the Niagara River corridor.
Jeff and Laura Liebel will present a freestyle and rescue demonstration, and a sprint competition will take place in Little Beaver Island lagoon. Paddles Up Niagara 2012 will begin after a traditional Native American departure ceremony at 11:30 a.m.
All on-water participants will be required to register and complete the necessary waiver forms. Boat crews must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices, and the condition of each participating canoe and kayak will be checked to ensure that it can safely transit the Paddles Up Niagara water trail.
All of the day's activities are free, including registration for Paddles Up Niagara; the exception is a lunch fundraiser and tour of the historic River Lea site, where a prepaid donation of $14 is required. Normal State Park entrance fees will apply. Upon entering Beaver Island State Park, participants should take the first right toward the sledding hill or Little Beaver for parking and launching.
To receive or download registration forms for Paddles Up Niagara, visit www.niagaragreenway.org or call the NRGC office at 773-5361.