New Paddle Trail makes a splash
On May 19, the official grand opening of the Kelowna Paddle Trail will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and will feature Kelowna’s largest flotilla (water parade). The approximately 27-kilometre trail is a unique way to explore the lake and offer a fun way to visit some of Kelowna’s beaches and parks.
Paddlers from all non-motorized watercrafts (and all skill levels) are encouraged to join the flotilla. Interested participants will meet at Hot Sands Beach in City Park (near the tunnel) by 9 a.m. The flotilla will depart immediately after the ribbon cutting ceremony and parade down the lake front before turning around at Waterfront Park and returning to City Park (approximately 2.5 km round-trip).
“The event will be a celebration of the lake and non-motorized water activities that promote physical activity,” said Mariko Siggers, City of Kelowna Community and Neighbourhood Services Manager. “It’s a wonderful community driven event featuring many different organizations that have come together to help educate our city about the great opportunities for fun and safe lake activities.”
The event is hosted by the City of Kelowna in partnership with Kelowna Dragon Boat Club, Central Okanagan Regional District, Kelowna Canoe & Kayak Club, CRIS Adaptive Adventures, Okanagan Dragon Boat Racing Club, Bust 'N Loose - Kelowna Breast Cancer Paddling Team, Kelowna Rowing Club and the Kelowna Paddle Centre.
Following the flotilla, event participants will have the opportunity to try different paddle sports for free, watch races and demonstrations, and learn about water safety from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. all in City Park. CRIS Adaptive Adventures will also be there with adaptive equipment options for people with diverse abilities.
"Breaking down perceived barriers for people with disabilities is what we do. Come adventure outside with us on the Paddle Trail,” said Dawn Widdifield, CRIS Adaptive Adventures Executive Director.
Kelowna Paddle Trail
The Kelowna Dragon Boat Racing Club took the lead on having 22 buoys installed from McKinley Beach to Bertram Creek Park to create the Kelowna Paddle Trail – the organization received a City of Kelowna Sesquicentennial Grant in 2017. The buoys include a list of the beach accesses along the trail and the distances between each, making it easier for paddlers to stay orientated along the water front, know when a rest stop is coming up and even challenge themselves between each distance.
“The Paddle Trail is the brain child of Brad Dahl who designed and developed the buoys. The Kelowna Dragon Boat Paddling Society stepped forward to host the project, provided input, financial management and support through the full process,” said Becky Marks, Kelowna Dragon Boat Racing Club. “Our organization recognized the benefits and value this trail will have to all paddlers, residents and tourists alike.”
“The paddle trail is an amazing legacy for our community,” said Siggers. “We were excited to add it into our extensive network of Active by Nature trails to be enjoyed by residents and visitors.”
For more information about Active by Nature, including the interactive map, visit kelowna.ca/activebynature.