Paddle the Peace celebrates 10th year

Susan Thompson
Express Staff

Every summer for a decade, people have been getting together for a group paddle down the mighty Peace River to savour its natural beauty.

The annual Paddle the Peace event is almost here again.

“This year we are having an extended lunch break with music for our participants AND we are giving away a Pelican Kayak, paddle and roof rack as a Grand Prize!” says Trinidy Schmidt, Community Services Coordinator at the County of Northern Lights.

“Plus, we have a snapchat filter for our participants to use at Lower West Peace!” she says.

Boats enter the river for this year’s event at Shaftesbury Ferry on the morning of Saturday August 17. After the complimentary lunch at Strong Creek, vessels will take off again and finally leave the river at the Lower West Peace Boat Launch. Shuttles are available from the boat launch to the ferry before the event begins.

The paddle covers 28 kms and takes approximately four and a half hours. The paddle is both family and dog-friendly, and is meant for beginners and advanced paddlers alike.

“Number 10 is special as we have come a long way since the very first paddle! We had a smaller group in the early years, and majority of the participants rented their equipment. Now our numbers have grown and lots of our participants already own equipment and canoe/kayak in the region frequently!” says Schmidt.

“It’s great to see so many locals in the region getting interested in canoeing, kayaking and even paddle boarding is becoming increasingly popular. Even 10 years later, we are still seeing participants who are brand new to Paddle the Peace and even to canoeing/kayaking on the Peace.”

For those paddlers not up to completing the full 28 kms, organizers say paddlers can finish at Strong Creek as long as they arrange their own transportation and sign out with a volunteer.

“It’s one of those things were you just jump in and do it!” Schmidt says.

“Even if you are going solo, you will not be short of help from our volunteer sweeps and fellow paddlers! You will walk away from this experience with a smile on your face, some new friends and a big sense of accomplishment after doing the 28 km paddle.”

Registration costs $20 per person over 13 years old, and kids 12 years and under are free. Tickets are available online through Eventbrite. All Paddle the Peace registrants will also be entered to win the grande prize kayak.

Registration deadline is Wednesday, August 14th. No onsite registrations will be accepted. At the time this article was written, the event was already 60 per cent sold out.

Paddle the Peace is organized by a partnership committee of several municipalities working together, including the County of Northern Lights, Northern Sunrise County, the Town of Peace River and the M.D. of Peace.

For more information, call Trinidy Schmidt, County of Northern Lights, Community Services Coordinator at (780) 836-3348 ext.238 or email csc@countyofnorthernlights.com.

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