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Paddles Up (File photo)
Paddles Up (File photo)

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, partners selected to host nationally recognized SPLASH event to celebrate clean water, engage community


Fri, Jun 23rd 2017 05:10 pm
Hundreds of Western New Yorkers will make a SPLASH and celebrate clean water and water-based activities on July 29 with Paddles Up Niagara 2017 presented nationally by Toyota.
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper has been selected as a host for Waterkeeper Alliance's SPLASH event series, presented nationally by Toyota. In partnership with the Niagara River Greenway Commission, the Town of Grand Island and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Paddles Up Niagara pays homage to the world-class paddling and public access found in the Niagara River Greenway.
Paddles Up will take place from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at Beaver Island State Park. This event is free and open to the public. Guests can register at www.bnriverkeeper.org/paddlesup.
The daylong celebration includes two eco-paddle tours, a vendor fair and paddle safety demonstrations. The crown jewel of the event will be the 2.5-mile group paddle, which will be followed by a dry-land celebration with local food trucks, a beer tent and hosts of various activities for the entire family.
Through the leadership of the Niagara River Greenway Commission, Paddles Up Niagara has been a tradition for many area paddlers over the past 11 years. The SPLASH sponsorship will provide increased capacity, including the implementation of online registration for participants and enhanced marketing opportunities with a goal of increasing attendance and impact of the event.
Coinciding with the mission and continued promise of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance to connect people to water, SPLASH Paddles Up Niagara is a true multipurpose event. This event is to celebrate the advancement of clean water and highlight how Buffalo and surrounding Western New York communities are unequivocally water-based and thriving on eco-tourism.
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka said, "Paddles Up Niagara offers Western New Yorkers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Niagara River. The collaboration between the Niagara River Greenway Commission, New York State Parks, the Town of Grand Island and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper shows cooperative energy to restore, protect and enjoy our Western New York waterways. Paddles Up Niagara connects people to water, promotes environmental stewardship, and fosters community development amongst hundreds of paddle sport and environmental enthusiasts."
Director of Community Engagement Chris Murawski said, "Paddles Up Niagara is a can't-miss event whether you are an experienced paddler or just a beginner. Not only will you enjoy a relaxing paddle through amazing scenery teeming with wildlife, but you will also have the opportunity to get to know members of WNY's welcoming paddling community."
Niagara River Greenway Commission Executive Director Jeanne Leccese said, "Paddles Up showcases one of the many natural resources located along the Niagara River Greenway, Beaver Island State Park and restored Strawberry and Motor islands. Niagara River Greenway Commission is committed to increasing and improving access to the Niagara River and adjacent shoreline. For the 12th year, the Niagara River Greenway Commission invites all Western New Yorkers to come experience the beauty of the Upper Niagara River."
Town of Grand Island Recreation Supervisor Joseph Menter said, "Paddles Up Niagara was founded with the purpose of bringing people to the Niagara River to enjoy it. It's a great collaboration between the Greenway Commission, NYS Parks, Town of Grand Island, and this year the addition of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. For me, the best part about the event is seeing hundreds of paddlers out on the water and having fun."
Niagara River Greenway Commission commissioner emeritus, and founder of Paddles Up, Paul Leuchner said, "When I launched Paddles Up in 2006, my goal was to bring people together to celebrate the culture, history and scenic qualities of the mighty Niagara River. Since that time, thousands of paddlers have come to know and appreciate the attributes of this world-class natural resource.
"Paddles Up is a well-established, family-friendly event that annually draws hundreds of people to the Niagara River Greenway and keeps growing every year. It has spawned a strong sense of environmental stewardship amongst the general public and has even served as a catalyst for ecotourism."
Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Paddles Up to benefit Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper will take place at Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island. For more information on the SPLASH event series, presented nationally by Toyota, visit www.splashseries.org. To register for Paddles Up 2017, visit www.bnriverkeeper.org/paddlesup.

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