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St. Louis Adventure Draws Hundreds of Paddlers
Midwest Region, August 30, 2012
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Students paddle voyager canoe.
Students paddle voyager canoe. - Photo Credit: Diane Banta/NPS.
Family paddles canoe.
Family paddles canoe. - Photo Credit: Diane Banta/NPS.
Student pose with Puddles (USFWS), Bobber the Water Safety Dog (USACOE), and FredBird (St. Louis Cardinals).
Student pose with Puddles (USFWS), Bobber the Water Safety Dog (USACOE), and FredBird (St. Louis Cardinals). - Photo Credit: Cortney Solum/USFWS.
The mascots try paddling a voyager canoe.
The mascots try paddling a voyager canoe. - Photo Credit: Diane Banta/NPS.
Kevin Foerster, Cortney Solum and John  Mabery pose with mascots.
Kevin Foerster, Cortney Solum and John Mabery pose with mascots. - Photo Credit: Diane Banta/NPS.
Participants paddle canoes and kayaks.
Participants paddle canoes and kayaks. - Photo Credit: Diane Banta/NPS.

The St. Louis Adventure, a two-day Summer of Paddling 2012 signature event, was held at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in West Alton, Mo. on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 17-18. The event was organized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge and the National Park Service.

Youth were invited to the bird sanctuary on Friday to learn to paddle and experience the river as Lewis and Clark did. Throughout the day nearly 140 children ages 10-18 paddled 15 person voyager style canoes with paddle guides from Big Muddy Adventures and the Quapaw Canoe Company. The event provided an opportunity for children who had never been in a boat to try paddling. Students also toured a replica of Lewis and Clark’s camp and learned some of the skills need on their expedition. Other stations included turtles and fishes of Midwestern Rivers with Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Carterville Fisheries Office. The Sierra Club led a service project with the children to clear brush in preparation for a new birding trail at the site and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers led a migration game.

In the afternoon remarks were given by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chief of Communications Martha Nudel, National Park Service Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Superintendent Mark Weekly and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rivers Project Manager Andy Schimpf. Presentations were closed by mascots from the National Wildlife Refuge System and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accompanied by FredBird from the St. Louis Cardinals’.

On Saturday, approximately 170 people from the public joined the paddling adventure by trying out different types of boats and taking in environmental education activities. Big Muddy Adventures and Quapaw Canoe Company provided voyager and tandem canoes; St. Louis Sail and Paddle taught participants to paddle stand up paddle boards, kayaks, sail kayaks and peddle boats; and many more kayaks and canoes were provided by the Mississippi River Water Trail Association and Great Rivers Land Trust. In addition to paddling, participants enjoyed geocaching, birding hikes and the replica of Lewis and Clark’s camp.

Amateur photographers watched closely and snapped photos of friends and family enjoying the day for the social media photo contest. Photos of the day are available on the Summer of Paddling Facebook page where followers voted for their favorite photo.

The Summer of Paddling 2012 is a series of events designed to get Americans outside to enjoy the Mississippi River via canoe or kayak. Aligned with the Presidential Initiative America’s Great Outdoors, the program encourages people to be active and get outside to experience nature.

The St. Louis Adventure events were made possible through partnerships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Mississippi River Connections Collaborative, Mississippi River Trail, Great Rivers Greenway, Mississippi River Water Trail Association, St. Charles County Parks Department, Sierra Club, Great Rivers Land Trust, Audubon Center at Riverlands and The Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, Missouri.


Contact Info: Cortney Solum, 618-883-2524, cortney_solum@fws.gov



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