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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
STONE LAKES NWR: Refuge Offers Canoe and  Kayak Programs
Region 8, August 31, 2009
Summer 2009; Volunteer interns from Sacramento State University leading wildlife observation and interpretation guided paddle trips on Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. - USFWS
Summer 2009; Volunteer interns from Sacramento State University leading wildlife observation and interpretation guided paddle trips on Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. - USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a

by Amy Hopperstad, Stone Lakes NWR
As winter migrants headed back to summer breeding grounds, Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge geared up to welcome a new set of summer visitors; local canoe and kayak enthusiasts.  The refuge has completed its Comprehensive Conservation Plan, and is moving forward to open new opportunities to the public for environmental education, wildlife observation, interpretation and photography.  This summer, the refuge launched a pilot summer canoe and kayak program which offered new opportunities for wildlife observation and guided interpretation paddles.  

 

The Canoe & Kayak program took place on a historically dredged area of Lower Beach Lake on the northwest boundary of the refuge. This free public program ran June through August, Thursday through Sunday, and offered a unique opportunity for water enthusiasts to enjoy previously closed areas within a 10 minute drive from downtown Sacramento.  Led by two volunteer interns from Sacramento State University pursuing recreation degrees, 44 guided interpretation paddles were available to anyone interested in exploring local wildlife practically in their own backyard.  Launching from the newly constructed gangway and floating dock, visitors were able to easily and safely load into their watercraft in a small inlet. To the delight of many, common encounters along the waterway included river otters, beavers, western pond turtles, great blue herons, Swainson’s hawks and American white pelicans.  All individuals/groups had to provide their own non-motorized boats (i.e. canoe & kayak), paddles and life vests for this first year.  This year's successful pilot program has been adopted for next summer. Scheduled guided wildlife observation and interpretation paddles starting in June 2010.

Contact Info: Amy Hopperstad, (916) 775-4421, amy_hopperstad@fws.gov