by Jeff Strout
Special to The Weekly
BANGOR — Paddlers, want-to-be paddlers and folks interested in becoming more accomplished padders should plan to attend the 13th annual Paddle Smart Safety Symposium Friday through Sunday, March 29-31, at Bangor Civic Center.
The event, part of the annual Boat Show at Bangor Auditorium, offers both entertainment and educational opportunities for everyone, from birding to first aid, or capsize recovery to a narrated pictorial trip along the Maine coast or the Yukon and Allagash rivers.
One lucky show attendee will go home with a new 12-foot Necky kayak, donated by Old Town Canoe. Raffle tickets are available at Epic Sports in Bangor and will be for sale during the three days of the show.
Scott Phillips of the Penobscot Nation will lead a discussion 5-6 p.m. Friday on changes on the Penobscot River that are expected to enhance opportunities for paddlers now that the Great Works dam is gone, and the effect the removal of the Veazie Dam will have on the watershed and its restoration.
New this year are 45-minute presentations 4-7 p.m. Saturday in break-out rooms adjacent to the Civic Center main floor. Door prizes will be awarded during each of the sessions.
Bookmarks available at Epic Sports in Bangor will get you into the boat show free during those hours only on Saturday.
At 4 p.m. the sessions are:
Canoeing the Allagash: The Allagash Wilderness Waterway offers paddlers a chance to do a canoe camping trip while running sections of river and crossing beautiful lakes through almost 100 miles of Maine forestland. Join Master Maine Guide Bob Myron of Outdoor Leader Trainers of America for a slideshow and discussion on how to plan for a safe and enjoyable trip. Bob has been canoeing this section of Maine for more than 30 years.
Maine’s Mysterious Marsh Birds: Danielle D’Auria, with Maine Department Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, will explain why Maine is home to secretive marsh birds such as rails, bitterns, herons and snipe. Learn what makes these birds special, why they still remain a mystery to most scientists, and how to increase your chance of hearing and possibly seeing one the next time your feet or paddle get wet.
At 5 p.m. the sessions are:
What to consider when Sharing your Passion for Paddlesports: Bob Myron will talk about what to do when you find yourself in a situation where you realize that you are the most experienced person in the group you are paddling with, and all of a sudden you have moved from “enthusiast” to “mentor.” Join Myron to learn some tips on what to be aware of when you are becoming a mentor of paddle sports.
Paddling the Yukon: Master Maine Guide Dan Pelletier of Maine Guiding will narrate a slideshow of a solo canoe trip taken in 1992 down the Yukon River. In the presentation attendees will be entertained by Dan’s story telling, and get pointers on how to pack for a trip of this duration and how to plan for all the things that could possibly happen along the way.
At 6 p.m. the sessions are:
What to do if and when Your Kayak Capsizes:Join Karen Francoeur, Master Maine Sea Kayak Guide/ACA IV open water instructor and owner of Castine Kayak Adventures, for a video presentation and talk about what to do if your boat or a friend’s boat capsizes. Learn how to minimize risks and what equipment could turn a complicated rescue into a simple and efficient one.
First aid for Paddlers: Join Jon Tierney, owner of Alpenglow and Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School, for some first aid basics. Tierney has been a paramedic since 1988 and has advanced training in critical care and flight medicine. Among his many skills he is a Wilderness First Responder and WEMT Instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates, since 1986.
Paddling Strokes Workshop: Mark Savage and the Brewer Outdoor Club will show efficient paddle stroke techniques in this hands-on dryland presentation. Afterward, you may be ready to take it to the water in the Kenduskeag Stream race on April 20.
New to the exhibitor list is Acadia Standup Paddleboarding. Christopher Strout, an ACA Level II stand up paddleboard instructor will share information about this emerging sport including, paddleboard history, technique, equipment and general safety for SUP on lakes, rivers, ocean and surf. Look for him in the Kenduskeag River Canoe Race where he plans to do the course standing up to generate awareness of the sport.
Return exhibitors for this year’s three-day show at the Bangor Civic Center include, Maine DEP Invasive Species Program, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; MaineGuiding; MaCKRO (Maine Canoe and Kayak Racing Organization); U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary; Brewer Outdoor Education program; Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; Maine Island Trail Association; and the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors.
Other businesses and organizations providing a wealth of information are Penobscot River Restoration, Castine Kayak Adventures, Epic Sports, Fields Pond Nature Center, Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society and Penobscot Riverkeepers.
For information call Epic Sports at 941-5670, Castine Kayak Adventures at 866-3506 or go to www.castinekayak.com/paddlesmart.htm to obtain an event schedule.