BANGOR, Maine — For only the second time in 48 years, the annual Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race will be shortened.
On Friday afternoon, Bangor Parks and Recreation Director Tracy Willette and Debbie Gendreau, the superintendent of the department, made the decision to shorten the race, from 16.5 miles to 15.5 miles, because of impending high tides.
The race will finish at the mandatory portage at the Flour Mill Dam on Valley Avenue in Bangor instead of downtown, where there are walkways and bridges over the stream.
“It would have been impassable,” said Willette, who explained that the awards ceremonies will also be held at the Flour Mill Dam instead of Gomez Park.
He said that on Friday, the water was up to the foot bridges in downtown Bangor.
Gendreau said 758 paddlers have been preregistered, and people also may register before the race at 6:30-7:45 a.m. Saturday, in Kenduskeag Village at the Grange Hall. That is also when those who preregistered must pick up race packets.
There will be a briefing at 8 a.m., and the race begins at 8:30 a.m. There will be 24 classes, and the race will send out five craft at a time.
A breakfast beginning at 6 a.m. will be available for $7 at the Grange Hall.
Willette said the stream isn’t as high as it had been earlier this week, but it is still higher than it has been in recent years.
“The conditions should be almost ideal,” said Willette, who added that it will be enticing to both the experienced paddlers and the more novice racers.
He said the experienced paddlers will be challenged by the fast water, while the less experienced will benefit from not having to negotiate as many rocks.