Paddle season begins with a river race in Canton

Published: Apr. 23, 2023 at 4:17 PM EDT
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - Paddlers raced down the Little River in Canton Sunday afternoon for the first race of the 2023 paddling season, the Little River Ramble.

For more than 20 years, organizer Gene Newman has made his way to almost every Ramble race. He says days like these are great to catch up with old friends.

“It’s the first time since the winter that we actually get together with a lot of friends from other places and catch up,” said Newman.

Saranac Lake resident Stephen Buzzell says the North Country as a whole, is one of the U.S. premiere paddling destinations.

“If you look a Florida, the number of boaters per capita or Minnesota, it’s high because of all the waterways. So I think that the same thing is true here. We got the waterways and it’s a great recreational outlet and I think people just migrate to the water they’re drawn to it,” said Buzzell.

When it comes to the Ramble itself, it is a mix of amateur and professional paddlers who share their love of being out on the water. St. Lawrence Valley Paddler member Mary Kelly says that paddling can not only have health benefits, but can be a very enjoyable time.

“I think when I capsize and swim, there’s a moment of ‘oh my!’ But I absolutely have fun,” said Kelly.

The next big race on the schedule, the Canton Canoe Weekend Race is in two weeks. A great start to the season with paddlers embracing the waterways one stroke at a time.