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A message about Celebrate Paddling and COVID-19

To the editor:

June is Celebrate Paddling month in the Adirondacks, but it will look a lot different this year because of COVID-19. Starting three years ago, outfitters, guides, community leaders, students and more have teamed up each June to participate in clinics, guided trips, races and river cleanups across the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondack Park.

The goal of Celebrate Paddling ADK is in the name — it’s an occasion to acknowledge the incredible role that paddling plays in communities across the Adirondacks and the Northern Forest as a whole. Paddling supports local economies, strengthens our bond with nature and keeps us physically and mentally healthy.

The realities and uncertainties associated with COVID-19 mean that this year’s Celebrate Paddling month will shift to a dispersed set of activities. Already, we know that some of the bigger events like the Adirondack SUP Festival, the Raquette River Clean-Up Day and the Celebrate Paddling Invitational won’t be happening. Much of this year’s schedule is in flux as we try to establish what activities are allowed under current New York state COVID guidance. We promise to keep you in the loop; follow Celebrate Paddling ADK on Facebook for updates, or visit celebratepaddlingadk.com.

We are working on virtual activities, and some of the smaller events — community paddles and demonstrations, for example — may take place as originally planned. We’re also working collectively to provide tools for cleanup activities if you’re interested in volunteering.

We do know for certain that paddling remains one of the best outdoor physical distancing activities. The Tri-Lakes region offers incredible opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, and while we may not be able to celebrate these opportunities in larger groups, we can still get on the water.

Sincerely,

Jason Smith, Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters, Saranac Lake

Brian McDonnell, MAC’s Canoe Livery, Lake Clear

Morgan Ryan, St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, Saranac Lake

Anne Fleck, Raquette River Outfitters, Tupper Lake

Karrie Thomas, Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Waitsfield, Vermont