The sixth annual Tour of the Yadkin River by the Yadkin Riverkeeper organization came to its close on Saturday with a sold-out group of 120-plus paddlers of all ages, breaking last year’s attendance record for the weekend of 75 paddlers.
Some brought their own kayaks or canoes, while others rented them from local outfitters, Yadkin Valley Adventures and River Run Outfitters. The paddlers met at Carolina Heritage Vineyard and were shuttled by the outfitters and members of the Yadkin Riverkeeper to Crater Park in Elkin early Saturday afternoon. There they put in and paddled down the Yadkin River to the Burch Station takeout at the junction of the Mitchell and Yadkin rivers.
The two-plus-hour paddle was followed by a celebration event at Carolina Heritage Vineyard with entertainment from Big Ron Hunter and the Elkin Creek Boys, food served by Heaven’s Scent Catering, relaxation and socializing. Many local people participated along with folks who came from Virginia, eastern North Carolina and South Carolina. A large percentage of the participants were new to the event this year and expressed their enjoyment and plans to participate again next year.
The annual Yadkin paddling event was started in 2010 as the “Tour de Yadkin” by the Yadkin Riverkeeper in an effort to bring local people along the Yadkin River out to enjoy the natural beauty of this resource with healthy activities such as kayaking and canoeing and thus to recognize the importance of caring for this precious resource. Different sections of the river are paddled on different weekends each month during the summer and people are invited to register and join in on any or all of them.
On August 19, the tour paddled from Ronda to Elkin, where many participants ate dinner and slept in preparation for the final paddle of the tour. The number of people participating in this event has grown every year as has the kayaking and canoeing on the Yadkin River in general.