WINSTON-SALEM — The Yadkin Riverkeeper Tour, which launched the sixth annual tour of paddling experience in Ronda earlier this summer, will officially wrap-up the event with a celebration weekend in Winston-Salem.
The grand finale of this year’s Riverkeeper tour will host a Paddle-A-Thon weekend in Winston-Salem on Aug. 20-22. On Aug. 20 at 1 p.m., paddlers are invited to join the tour from the Bean Shoals river access in Pilot Mountain to Donnaha near East Bend, a 6.9-mile trip down the river. Once the trip ends, paddlers are invited to join the Yadkin Riverkeeper in the new tasting room at Foothills Brewing Co.’s main brewery for a pre-Paddle-A-Thon party from 6-8 p.m. Paddlers may drop off their pledges for Saturday’s fundraising Paddle-A-Thon at the event.
On Aug. 21, the Yadkin Riverkeeper teams up with radio station WFDD for a ‘Listener Paddle’ which will take place at the Old 421 river access in Lewisville and paddle to the Huntsville access, a total of 5.4 miles.
The main event will occur on Saturday at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons. The Paddle-A-Thon is Yadkin Riverkeeper’s biggest fundraiser of the year where people collect pledges to paddle from the Huntsville access to Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, a stretch covering 10.8 miles. Novice and experienced paddlers are encouraged to paddle as individuals or in teams with friends during the event.
The Yadkin River has remained a key element for local industries such as Yadkin River-Adventures located in Rockford. River-Adventures owner Paul Carter explained during the Yadkin Riverkeeper’s tour that with the Yadkin supplying water to major industries down river, the levels are often monitored and fed by Kerr Scott Reservoir in Wilkesboro. When the levels become low, Carter stated that his business can operate in as little as a quarter of a foot of water levels, a low that hasn’t been seen in several years.
As far as the opinion on how well the outdoor adventurers enjoyed Elkin’s major water during their June expedition, Carter said it was a hit. “It went fantastic, everything went really well,” Carter said of the journey. Members of the Elkin Valley Trails Association also participated in the tour, whether they were on the water or welcoming out-of-towners to the community.
According a written statement from the Riverkeeper, the post-paddle party will begin at 3 p.m. at Tanglewood Park in Shelter 2. All attendees are welcome to enjoy music by Chalwa, Asheville’s reggae band, food by The Spring House Restaurant in Winston-Salem, wine from Raffaldini Vineyards in Ronda, beer from Foothills Brewing, and spring water from LeBleu Bottled Water.
Registrations and pledges are accepted online at YadkinRiverkeeper.org. Friends, family and coworkers are encouraged to sponsor each paddler’s participation and to track their fundraising efforts. Those who raise a minimum of $50 will get a custom-designed buff and an all-access pass to the post-paddle, family-friendly celebration with free beer, food and music. Attendees who raise even more money will qualify to win a new kayak, REI outdoor gear, Maui Jim sunglasses, trips and more.
Money raised through the Paddle-A-Thon supports the clean water efforts of Yadkin Riverkeeper to keep the Yadkin River fishable, swimmable and drinkable.
Each paddle day or event requires a separate online registration at YadkinRiverkeeper.org or by calling 336-722-4949.
Registration is $20 per person per day, plus boat rental if needed. Yadkin Riverkeeper has negotiated preferred rates for paddlers needing to rent a boat: A kayak (holds one person) rents for an additional $28 per day or a canoe (holds two people) for an additional $44 per day. Participants are encouraged to raise a minimum of $50 from family and friends – raise more to qualify to win great prizes from sponsors.
The Paddle-A-Thon is sponsored by REI and WFDD-FM, with additional support from Carolina Heritage Winery.
Yadkin Riverkeeper’s mission is to respect, protect and improve the Yadkin Pee Dee River Basin through education, advocacy and action. It is aimed at creating a clean and healthy river that sustains life and is cherished by its people. For more information, visit YadkinRiverkeeper.org or call 336-722-4949.