Registration is now open for the autumn Delmarva Paddling Weekends, which will begin with paddling excursions starting Friday, Sept. 28, to Sunday, Oct. 1. This year, paddlers will be able to choose additional October and November weekends to meander through the changing fall foliage. For more information and to choose a trip, go to DelmarvaPaddling.com. The website is updated regularly with new trips.
The kickoff weekend features guided excursions by kayak and canoe on Smith Island, Va.; Broad Creek in Laurel; the Broadkill River in Milton; the Pocomoke River in Snow Hill, Md.; and the coastal bays east of Berlin, Md. Subsequent October and November weekends will feature trips celebrating these Delmarva trail towns.
The event concept was developed in 2015, when both Laurel and Snow Hill began meetings with citizens, businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations to search for new strategies for building low-impact tourism programs around authentic nature and heritage experiences. A natural partnership was born during workshops where Snow Hill provided advice to Laurel and vice versa.
This year, Smith Island, Milton and Berlin wanted a piece of the action and organizers obliged. All three communities are similar in their positions on beautiful waterways, easy access to amazing outdoor recreation opportunities, and need for economic development through nature and heritage tourism.
The events are modeled after the successful Delmarva Birding Weekends now in their 22nd year, and participants can choose from an à la carte menu of paddling trips. All tours are guided by local naturalists and historians who focus on the birds and wildlife of local waterways, and the connections local rivers have to historical luminaries such as Harriet Tubman and Capt. John Smith. The weekends feature some rarely paddled waterways. Participants can bring their own human-powered boats, and local outfitters will provide kayaks and canoes for those who need them. Locals and visitors alike are invited to participate.
Event sponsors include the University of Delaware's Sustainable Coastal Communities Initiative, Delaware Sea Grant, the Town of Snow Hill, Delmarva Almanac, the Delaware Office of Tourism, the Greater Laurel Chamber of Commerce, Worcester County Tourism, Coupons.com, and DelMarVa Board Sport Adventures.
The goal of the paddling weekends is to showcase Delmarva's world-class paddling opportunities to participants so they will go home, tell their friends, and come back again for future outings. The Delmarva paddling weekends are also designed to showcase Laurel, Milton, Smith Island, Berlin and Snow Hill as paddling trail towns with central locations to stay, play, dine and drink before and after paddling experiences.
The Delmarva Paddling Weekends are organized by Conservation Community Consulting LLC along with a host of other partners. For more information and to register, go to DelmarvaPaddling.com.