Downriver race set for July 28

BY KEVIN WOODRUFF

After a two-year hiatus, the Endless Mountains Downriver Canoe/Kayak Race is returning on Saturday, July 28.

The event is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Tunkhannock, North Branch Land Trust and Endless Mountain Outfitters.

It is a 12-mile canoe/kayak race starting in Mehoopany at12 p.m.with a starting gun, with the finish line at the boat launch atRiversideParkin Tunkhannock.

Now in its 49th year, it is one of the oldest marathon canoe/kayak races in theNortheastern United States.

David Buck, one of the event coordinators and owner of Endless Mountain Outfitters, said that is glad to see the event back and is hoping for a good turnout.

“As a water trail manager, I felt the race needed to happen,” Buck said. “There is a lot of history that goes along with the event.”

In addition to the traditional 12-mile race, there will also be a new relay component added where a pair of racers can trade off halfway through to get to the finish line.

Also, before the 12-mile race begins atnoon, there will be a recreational paddle starting at Mehoopany at10:30 a.m.

There will be several divisions within four classes for both kayaks and canoes.  The kayak and canoe recreation classes are for people who don’t compete in other races, just want to have fun and enjoy the river.

The kayak and canoe competition classes are for people who enjoy racing and competition. There is a class for everyone from youth to diehard racers.

Awards will be given in each division. If you’d like to participate but don’t own a boat contact Endless Mountain Outfitters, www.emo444.com, for rentals.

Buck said he believes the recreational paddlers should be somewhere nearCampLackawannaon the Vosburg Neck when the racers reach them.

“It will be a nice opportunity to pull over and watch the racers come by,” Buck said.

He said the goal was to get the racers and the recreational paddlers all back to Tunkhannock by3 p.m.to enjoy the festivities of the “Celebrate Summer at the River” celebration atRiversidePark.

The race used to take place a day after the river celebration, however, Buck said he felt it was a good move to make them the same day.

“With it being the same day, some of the people who come in from out of town will have something to do after the race is over,” Buck said.

At race end, the many activities of the Celebrate Summer at the River Festival atRiversideParkwill be at participants’ disposal.

There will be live music by Sadie Green Sales Jugband, Coal Town Rounders and the George Wesley Band along with environmental activities for children and adults, a petting zoo, ice cream, plein aire painters and more.

Registration is by mail to the Kiwanis Club of Tunkhannock,PO Box419, Tunkhannock, online at www.emo444.com or by calling North Branch Land Trust at 696-5545.  The entry fee is $12 per pre-registered participant or $15 per participant the day of the race.  Registration is allowed on race day from 10-11:00 .a.m. at the start site in Mehoopany.

You can obtain the official entry form at many area stores and businesses or my contacting the Kiwanis Club of Tunkhannock, Endless Mountain Outfitters or North Branch Land Trust.

For more information contact Tom Tesluk at 241-2609, Gene Truax at 836-3618, Buck at 746-9140 or Barb Romanansky at North Branch Land Trust at 696-5545.