Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH series event includes two eco tours & two paddle events
Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, the Niagara River Greenway Commission and Beaver Island State Park will host the 13th annual Paddles Up Niagara on Saturday, July 28. Paddlers will have the opportunity to take in the Island scenery, wetlands, heron rookery and an active bald eagle nesting area during the event (from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.). There is no entry fee for the event, and the community is encouraged to come out and enjoy the water with other paddlers.
The regular park entry fee will be charged beginning at 9 a.m.
Two eco tours will start at 7 and 7:30 a.m. from the 2B shelter and tour 3.8 miles. The eco tours will explore Strawberry Island Lagoon, home to nesting bald eagles, and Pirates (Motor) Island, a great blue heron and egret rookery. The tours will also cover the Beaver Island habitat improvement project, an important fish spawning area, and East River Marsh, an important avian and aquatic habitat area.
The early morning paddle at 8 a.m. is for moderate skill levels as it crosses the Niagara River. It is 3.8 miles long and begins at the 2B shelter near the end of the beach. Paddlers will follow a water trail known for its diverse bird species as they travel from the beach across the river channel, around Strawberry Island and Pirates (Motor) Island, and then follow the shoreline back to the beach. Great blue herons, egrets and Caspian terns are just some of the birds that can be viewed, as well as an active bald eagle nesting area.
The late morning paddle begins at 11:30 a.m. from the 2B shelter, as well, and is for all skill levels. Participants will paddle through Little Beaver Island past the Jolly Reefers Launch area and then have the option to return to the beach, or take an extended paddle out to East River Marsh and then return to the beach. The entire paddle stays close to the shoreline.
The Jolly Reefers Launch area was named after the Little Beaver Island fishing club often frequented by former President Grover Cleveland.
All paddlers will be required to wear Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices (life jackets), display their registration number, and stay on their designated course.
In addition to the paddling events, Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles, Shish-Ka-Bob Heaven and Jim's Metal Kettle food trucks will be onsite, and a Flying Bison Beer tent will open at noon.