Urban Summer Canoe and Kayak Wildlife Observation Programa Huge Hit With Visitors

Stone Lakes Paddle Trip

Visitors enjoying the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge guided paddle wildlife observation program.

By Amy Hopperstad, Stone Lakes NWR

As summer winds down and the fall migrants slowly take up residence on recently flooded wetlands, Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge wraps up another successful Canoe and Kayak Wildlife Observation Program.

For the second summer, this new program saw dramatically increased numbers of paddle enthusiasts as word got out and spread through newspapers, internet blogs and kayaking websites.  

Located only 10 miles from downtown Sacramento and along a historically dredged area of Lower Beach Lake, the Canoe and Kayak Wildlife Observation Program offered people many opportunities to enjoy free volunteer guided summer wildlife viewing and interpretation paddles on the refuge from June through September. More than 250 visitors enjoyed this unique opportunity to paddle the normally restricted part of the refuge and experience local wildlife up-close such as river otters, egrets, herons, hawks, pelicans, beavers and pond turtles while learning about the refuge, Central Valley habitat and on-going restoration projects. Open to all individuals/groups and experience levels, paddlers need to BYOB (bring your own boat) and equipment, and have the option to either land launch or dock launch from a low profile floating platform.  

As the day shortens and the program will wait until next June, visitors may swap out their boats for hiking shoes and still come enjoy volunteer guided walks past the wetlands, welcoming back the wintering sandhill cranes, waterfowl and shorebirds.