Sunday, May 19, 2024

Saranac Lake’s ‘Round the Mountain race draws record 102 boats

Paddling team

Saranac Lake, NY— The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) hosted the 2024 ‘Round the Mountain Canoe & Kayak Race on Saturday, May 11, drawing a record 102 boats for the annual spring paddling tradition.

Matthew Skeels of Canton, NY, posted the fastest time of the day, completing the 10.5-mile course in 1:25:30. TheRound the Mountain begins at Ampersand Bay on Lower Saranac Lake, crosses to Second Pond, through the Lower Locks to Oseetah Lake and finishes on Lake Flower.

“As the kick-off to our race season, theRound the Mountain is one of our favorite events of the year, as it represents the first gathering of our NFCT paddling community after the long winter,” said NFCT Executive Director Karrie Thomas. “It’s a great mix of competitive racers and folks who are in it to finish and enjoy the camaraderie of being with their fellow paddlers. We had some rain and fluctuating temperatures, but it clearly didn’t scare anyone away as we posted our largest field to date. It’s so great to reconnect with everyone and the enthusiasm is contagious.”

A full list of results by boat class, age, and gender can be viewed here:

This year’s race was part of a full weekend of paddling activities that included a paddlers mixer, vendor booths, a boat demo and a film festival, all of which were made possible with support from over a dozen local businesses and agencies, including: NRS, Explore Adirondack Frontier, Ampersand Bay Resort, Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters, Mac’s Canoe Livery and Outfitter, Raquette River Outfitters, St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, Hornbeck Boats, Placid Boatworks, Guide ADK, Hotel Saranac, Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn, Hotel Saranac, Sara-Placid Inn & Suites/The Ashley, the Waterhole, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, Blue Moon Cafe and the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

racers at the start of a race on a lake

Paddlers in one of four waves prepare to start the ‘Round the Mountain Canoe & Kayak Race, launching from the beach at the Ampersand Bay Resort in Saranac Lake. (Photo by Michele Munley.)

“We send a special thank you to the organizations who provided critical safety support for theRound the Mountain race: HK Marina and Saranac Lake Marina, for providing safety boats, and the Adirondack Amateur Radio Association, for providing communications for race staff,” Thomas said. “The NFCT also extends its gratitude to the volunteers who supported the race, from safety boat drivers to our timing crew. Our organization has a small professional crew, and we simply can’t run these events without support from the community.”

Proceeds from all events support waterway access, stewardship and programming. To learn more about the NFCT, visit

About the Northern Forest Canoe Trail:

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a nonprofit organization that maintains and promotes the 740-mile water trail that runs from Old Forge, NY, to Fort Kent, Maine, and connects New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. The trail showcases the mix of landscapes and communities currently lining the traditional routes used by Indigenous peoples, settlers and guides. It is the longest in-land water trail in the nation and consists of 23 rivers and streams, 59 lakes and ponds, 45 communities and 65 portages. To learn more, visit

Photo at top: Team Blue Crusher Flowers, a mainstay of the Adirondack paddling community, presented a slightly modified lineup at the 2024 ‘Round the Mountain Canoe and Kayak Race. From left: Donna Walsh, Polly Kelting, Chrissy Hayden and Cary Hall. (Photo by Chris Morris.)

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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