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Paddles Up sets record

by Alex
Sat, Aug 4th 2012 07:00 am
Participants in Paddles Up Niagara hoist their paddles for a pre-event photo, taken from a Grand Island Fire Co. ladder truck. (photo by Angela Berti)
Participants in Paddles Up Niagara hoist their paddles for a pre-event photo, taken from a Grand Island Fire Co. ladder truck. (photo by Angela Berti)

Just under 200 boats hit the water off the shore of Grand Island for the seventh annual Paddles Up Niagara.

Preregistration numbers for Paddles Up Niagara Saturday were at an all-time high, but inclement weather south of Buffalo held down the participation, said Rob Belue, executive director of the Niagara River Greenway Commission.

Belue said the preregistration total of 160 far exceeded the average of 100 for the event. With some boats carrying more than one paddler, between 200 and 300 left Beaver Island for a leisurely trip to the East Marsh of the Niagara River and back.  "But unfortunately the weather this morning looks ominous," said Belue. "But we ended up with a good number. We're happy with it."

The event, the showcase of the Niagara River Greenway Commission, also sends a message to the region, said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, vice chairman of the Greenway Commission.

"When the New York Power Authority was up for a 50-year relicensing in 2007, stakeholders from the grassroots level of the community came together and said some of the money from that power plant should go to help build a park system linking Lake Erie to Lake Ontario along the Niagara River," Dyster said. "By coming out here for your event today, you help to show that you're simpatico with the purposes and projects of the Niagara River Greenway, and we thank you."

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