Three men sit in a sunken canoe below Six Mile Falls in Bangor during the 52nd Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, April 21, 2018.

A concern about the water level at high tide in downtown Bangor has prompted organizers of the 53rd Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race to change the finish line for Saturday’s race. Instead of finishing just below Merchants Plaza, racers will instead finish immediately after the Shopping Cart rapids off Valley Avenue.

The Bangor Recreation and Parks Department said Thursday afternoon that high tide and the inability for boats to go safely underneath either of the final two bridges over the stream prompted the switch. Those bridges are both over the concrete canal in downtown.

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Paddlers will now take their canoes out of the water at the mandatory portage at Maxfield Dam, carry their boats around the dam, then put their boats back in the water to run the Shopping Cart rapids. The parking lot will be closed to traffic so racers can put their boats there.

High tide on the Penobscot — and in the lower stretch of the Kenduskeag — is at 12:31 p.m. Saturday.

This is not the first time the finish line has had to be changed due to high water concerns. The same conditions forced a change back in 1999.

[Veteran paddler offers Kenduskeag primer for spectators, new participants]

The warming tent, chili and chowder meals for paddlers, results board and awards ceremony will still take place at the traditional site in Gomez Park near the mouth of the stream.

There is a bus that will run from the new finish line to Gomez Park beginning at 11 a.m. Buses will also run from the park back to Kenduskeag throughout the day.

John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...