Old Town floats new paddling program

People paddle on the Penobscot River to provide background for a press conference announcing Old Town's Stay & Play Adventure packages.  The city hopes to promote the guided tours that showcase Old Town area waterways. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY GABOR DEGRE
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People paddle on the Penobscot River to provide background for a press conference announcing Old Town's Stay & Play Adventure packages. The city hopes to promote the guided tours that showcase Old Town area waterways. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY GABOR DEGRE
Posted April 16, 2010, at 7:08 p.m.

OLD TOWN, Maine — Exploring the scenic waterways in the Old Town area just got easier thanks to a tourism partnership announced Friday by the city of Old Town, the Penobscot Indian Nation, Old Town Canoe, Old Town Trading Post, Cyr Bus Lines and other regional participants.

The Stay & Play program will offer seven professionally guided canoe and kayak tours that begin and end in Old Town, providing amenities such as ground transportation to boat launch sites, complete equipment packages, prepared snacks and box lunches on the water and overnight lodging.

“The Stay & Play package offers an opportunity for a healthy outdoor experience in Maine,” said Becky Cyr of Cyr Bus, speaking at a press event at the city’s boat launch at the end of Fourth Street. “The great thing about it is you can enjoy the great outdoors without having to worry about the hassle of transporting or storing your gear. All the equipment you need will be at the location for you when you arrive on a Cyr Bus.”

Mayor and City Council Chairman David Mahan called the collaboration in developing the program “tremendous.”

“Old Town is a beautiful place with gorgeous waterways, and I am thrilled that they are now a little more accessible for visitors to the area,” Mahan said.

The small-group tours are designed for novice and intermediate paddlers and also can be adapted for the use of motorized craft. Children as young as 8 are welcome on some trips if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The most basic package, an easy, half-day, three-mile paddle from the outlet of Pushaw Stream around the southern shore of Orson Island to the boat ramp in Old Town, costs $39 per person. A more ambitious tour follows a 13-mile route from the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Alton down Pushaw Stream and around the northern end of Orson Island. Other trips include wildlife viewing on Birch Stream, guided fishing in the Penobscot River, and a historic tour of Indian Island, the home of the Penobscot Indian Nation.

City Manager Peggy Daigle said the paddle program will attract both area residents and tourists from farther afield to Old Town.

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