Shawnee State Park is gearing up for a late-season paddle on October 29. The paddle will be on the Ohio River, launching from Portsmouth’s Alexandria Park and ending at the Shawnee Marina.
The event is a first-year endeavor, after Richards and a group of ODNR employees made the trip to test it for its enjoyment.
“We wanted to see how long it would take and how strenuous it would be, so we did a sort of pre-run with eight of us,” Richards said. “This will be the first time we open it to the public.”
Richards said the test run was successful and the group is excited to bring the paddle to the public.
“It was amazing and so beautiful. I’d never paddled on the river before, since I was used to small lakes, and never thought to do the banks of the Ohio,” Richards said. “It is splendid.”
Richards said that this route isn’t a hard paddle, but, due to the nature of the river, it isn’t necessarily a beginner route, either. The paddle takes four hours to complete and the group will stay on the banks of the northern side of the river. There will be no crossing the river.
People can meet at the arena at 10 a.m. for a carpool to Portsmouth. Boats and life jackets will be provided if Jenny Richards of ODNR is contacted in advance. People are also welcome to bring their own kayak. Richards says that she can also carpool people back to Portsmouth, if they bring their own boat and launch onsite. Guests are encouraged to pack a lunch and water.
The paddle is 6 miles and guests can preregister by emailing Richards at [email protected].
“We have so many great rivers, streams, and lakes to paddle here—either kayaking or canoeing. You can really get close to Mother Nature when you’re on the water. Last time we did this, we saw a bald eagle, tons of freshwater muscle shells, beaver action on the river. It is just a great place to see wildlife with turtles basking and fish jumping. We are so lucky to live on such a mother of a river and we can sometimes take it for granted because it is our river, and we’ve lived on it our whole lives, so we don’t really realize what a special place it is.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved