Kayak tour a great way to jump-start summer
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area rangers invite residents to go jump in the lake — and get in a kayak.
The park will offer free Memorial Day weekend ranger-guided kayak tours, Saturday to May 31.
Routes go east or west of Brandy Creek Beach, depending on the guide and the wind conditions, said Park Ranger Resource Education Clinton Kane.
“Both sides have different views of the park,” Kane said. “... The coves offer various aspects of the park: wildlife, plants, geology and of course the history of the area.”
Historic venues include American Indian settlements and California Gold Rush sites.
The Memorial Day weekend tours kick off the park’s summer kayaking program, open June 19. Summer tours are offered mornings and evenings on weekdays, and three times daily on weekends.
Rangers and volunteers guide the tours and teach navigation and how to get on and off the kayaks.
About 15,000 people have participated in tours since the program began in 1999 “to help take the sting off from the personal watercraft ban on the lake,” Kane said. “We started small the first year with just a few (tours).”
The 2009 program included 168 ranger-guided tours for 2,549 visitors, Kane said. Each tour averaged 15 people.
“We did 14 moonlight kayak tours for 244 lucky visitors,” Kane said.
This summer’s moonlight tour dates are being decided, Kane said, but they usually meet five or six days before the full moon.
“The silence is great (during moonlight tours) — no motors,” said volunteer Rosie Flud, who is in her fifth year with the program.
The park also hosted six special access tours in 2009 for people with disabilities, Kane said.
“It’s people who wouldn’t normally be out on the tours; people with disabilities like arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease, mentally challenged adults,” said Flug, who participated in all of the 2009 special needs tours.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary escorts moonlight and special access tours, Flud said.
Tours are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants need a valid park entrance pass and must weigh 250 pounds or less, know how to swim, wear the provided Coast Guard Type III life jacket at all times, be at least 6 years old and in good health. Tours run 90 minutes to two hours on the water and use double-seated or tandem kayaks. Participants may bring their own kayaks. Children ages 6 to 12 must ride with a parent or guardian. Call 242-3462.
Other park programs begin June 19 including water safety demonstrations, children’s programs including Junior Fire Fighters and Junior Rangers, and evening education programs with topics including history and wildlife. Call 246-1225.
Courtesy or Redding.com