The Ausable River Association (AsRA) will be offering free guided community paddling programs on the Ausable Paddling Nature Trail in Wilmington this summer.
The paddling program will introduce people to flatwater paddling skills, safety, and the natural history of Lake Everest (an impoundment of the West Branch of the Ausable River), and the Ausable River Watershed.
AsRA’s Science and Stewardship Director, Brendan Wiltse will be leading the programs. The Ausable Paddling Nature Trail was established by the AsRA in 2010. “Interpretive nature trails are fairly common, but a paddling nature trail is much less so. This is a self-guided paddling nature trail that anyone can follow. There is a full color guide booklet in the kiosk at the boat launch on Lake Everest at the town beach,” Wiltse said.
The full length of the trail is about two-miles and includes seven stops along the way, with each stop discussing some aspect of the natural history of Lake Everest. The booklet includes beautiful hand-drawn illustrations of birds, plants, and other wildlife commonly found on Lake Everest.
AsRA will be offering free, guided programs, on the paddling trail from July through September this summer. A Belay Grant awarded by Columbia Sportswear to AsRA, which will support the paddling program, riparian planting, and watershed cleanup projects, has made this program possible. The Mountaineer in Keene Valley is providing matching funds to support this program and the Town of Wilmington is offering free canoe and kayak rentals to participants. It is part of a renewed effort at the association to further engage the community in protecting the Ausable River watershed.
During the paddling trips participants will learn about Lake Everest, the Ausable River, and the work AsRA is doing in the watershed. Wiltse says, “Climate change, road salt, invasive species, undersized culverts, and bank erosion are just a few of the challenges the river is facing. Our goal is to spark a passion for the Ausable River and get people out enjoying it, but we also want people to walk away with an awareness of the threats facing the river, lakes, and watershed.”
Program dates and other information are available on the Ausable River Association website.