YARMOUTH – There’s a friendly group of paddlers in the region that’s on the move to get others on board.
Southwest Paddlers Association (SWPA) president Sandra Phinney says members are keen on promoting kayaking and canoeing and making it easy and safe for people to get involved.
The association provides advantages that many are unaware of.
“The benefits to the region are low-key but significant,” said Phinney.
“For example, our website lists over 90 sites in this end of the province, with a map and coordinates that are excellent places to launch a kayaking trip. The same applies for canoe trips but they are fewer in number.”
Kayaking/canoeing has grown in popularity these past years and Phinney says the activity’s benefit as a “stress-buster” is part of the draw.
“Another thing is that entire families can take part and there are more ‘service providers,’ meaning you don't have to invest in kayaks and canoes if you don't want to ... there are rentals, and these outfitters also offer day trips.”
From November to April, members have social gatherings at local restaurants. A program component has been added to the meetings whereby members present slide shows of their trips.
During the last meeting (at the brewery in Tusket) Anna Mallin presented a description of her trip sailing in the South Seas and kayaking in the Antarctic.
On April 2, Will Poole will present a session on paddling in the Tobeatic and a group's efforts to restore one of the old warden's cabins. This session is set for 6 p.m. at Tusket Falls Brewing Co.
On April 20 the association will have a table at the Yarmouth Farmers Market to conduct a fund-raiser and provide information about the group.
On May 7, at 7 p.m., a public meeting at the Yarmouth County Museum will feature regional outfitters, kayak, canoe and SUP (standup paddleboard) tour operators talking about what events they’re offering this season, some providing skills development workshops. As well, reps from the Bay of Fundy Kayaking Symposium and the Shelburne Kayaking Festival will give an overview of their events.
This spring the association set up four grants of $75 each to assist members to take three-day and four-day wilderness first aid courses. They were spoken for within three days.
SWPA is also helping to support a SPOT, a safety device used in wilderness areas where there is no phone service. It alerts contacts if there is trouble and also brings in a helicopter with medics in case of an emergency.
Membership for SWPA is $15 a year.
“The camaraderie and sharing between members is priceless,” said Phinney.
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