Paddling the Genesee

2022 Season Report and 2023 Outlook 

Once again, the leaves on the trees bordering our river have given us their brilliant fall display of reds, golds, and deep greens.  However, the chill winds raising wavelets on the water are a reminder that this year’s paddling season has come to an end, and it is time to recall the year’s high points and make plans for 2023.

As in summers past, for 2022 Genesee RiverWatch partnered with the Genesee Waterways Center and the City of Rochester to offer a program of public paddles on the lower river.  With COVID coming under better control and taking lessons from prior years, we made several changes to the program:  This year we offered 5 monthly events from June 11th through October 2nd.  These included two events, designed for both novice and experienced  paddlers, which started from the Waterways Center and paddled up the secluded waters of Red Creek.  This route is protected from winds and most boating traffic, making it a great place to learn or refresh paddling skills.  

Two additional events were limited to paddlers with intermediate+ experience and launched from the new ADA dock on the harbor at Petten Street.  We travelled upstream past the historical sights at Turning Point Park and into the area we have termed the “wilderness in the city”, before returning to Petten Street.

Crowning the season was the October 2nd ROC the Riverway Weekend paddle.  We gathered at Petten Street, took a city van upriver to Seth Green Park and paddled the full five mile stretch of the Genesee back to the harbor.  We had a brisk but dry fall day to watch fishermen at Lower Falls land a huge salmon, see the Underground Railroad terminus at Kelsey’s Landing, and learn about other pre-Erie Canal river villages including Carthage and Kings Landing, as well as the industrial history of the coal and cement terminals at Turning Point Park.

Over the course of the summer, 34 people participated in the program, several of them coming on multiple dates.  In addition, our tours were joined by a number of paddlers who had their own kayaks and wanted to enjoy a day on the river while learning more about its history and RiverWatch activities.

Looking forward to 2023 and beyond, our plans will continue to be guided by the idea that there is no substitute for experiencing the Genesee from water level.  Thus, we want to increase the number of available paddling dates, add new sections of the river to paddle, create more opportunities for individuals and families who do not know how to paddle to learn the sport, and find ways to incorporate K-12 educational experiences in the program.  

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