River Paddle launching in Owego

The Rotary District 7170 Environmental Sustainability Action Group is holding river paddles in Owego on May 21 and 22. These paddles are open to the public.

The first paddle will start at the Apalachin boat launch at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 21. This is a new boat launch and is an excellent place to launch kayaks and canoes. 

The May 21 paddle will start at 9 a.m. and go from Apalachin to Hickories Park in Owego. Pavilion # 2 at Hickories Park is available for lunch or picnics. This paddle will pass Hiawatha Island, an island with a lot of history and folklore, which was saved from demolition by civic-minded residents led by Owego Rotarian John Spencer. 

As kayakers pass Hiawatha Island they may catch a glimpse of one or two Eagles’ nests on the island, and Eagles are often spotted in this area. Properly worn life jackets are mandatory. 

On Sunday, May 22 at 9 a.m., paddle from the launch at Hickories Park in Owego and go to Riverfront Park in Sayre, Pa. (20 miles) where participants hope to meet up with Rotary groups. Hickories Pavilion # 2 is available for the day for lunches and picnics. This is a long paddle, so bring food, drink, sunscreen, and a wide brim hat. A properly worn life vest is mandatory.

Some Rotary members and others have expressed interest in kayaking the length of the Susquehanna River. There has been interest by Rotary Clubs in Pennsylvania to become part of Rotary District 7170’s initiative to highlight the Susquehanna’s environmental condition and its importance to riverine communities in New York. 

The Susquehanna River travels 444 miles from Cooperstown to Maryland and is the largest river east of the Mississippi. Its importance in the development of upstate New York is immense. The environmental, economic, and recreational opportunity that the river provides is an ideal subject for the recently enacted Rotary 7th Area of Focus, Protection of the Environment, restoring land, coastal, marine, and freshwater resources. 

The first steps in restitution of the river are appreciation and assessment of current conditions. The Susquehanna River provides 30% of the water flow into the Chesapeake Bay, and cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay has been a national priority for many years.

To register for the paddles, contact Jeff Smith by email to jsmith1532@aol.com or call (607) 754-0673. You will receive an email or phone call at a later date to verify final details of the event. A waiver of liability is required for each participant and should be brought to the event. 

The fee is $10 per adult (18 and over) to help defray costs. The fee is good for any or all events. Children under 18 are free. Checks should be made payable to Rotary District 7170. 

They will provide guidance for cleaning your canoe or kayak of invasive species. Questions can be directed to Kevin Millar at kjmilow@gmail.com or call (607) 687-3263. 

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