Summer 2023 Paddling Season Wrap-up

Our heartfelt thanks to those who joined us in making 2023’s summer paddling season on the Genesee the most successful ever.  102 paddlers joined us during the five events this summer – far more than in any previous year!

Genesee RiverWatch, in partnership with the Genesee Waterways Center and the City of Rochester, has offered summer paddles on the river since 2018.  We feel strongly that the best way to really appreciate this marvelous asset is to explore it from water level, along with the herons, turtles, muskrat, mink, and occasional eagles that make their homes on the river and its banks.

We began the season on June 23rd with an evening “Family Fun Day – Learn to Paddle” program.  Waterways Center and RiverWatch staff were on the water as guides and instructors for those new to kayaking.  The threat of rain clearly didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits as the photo below attests.

On July 9th we paddled up the Genesee to the Erie Canal and from there to Red Creek.  This narrow and secluded by-way is home to painted turtles, white egrets, geese, and muskrats.  As we paddled up the creek, away from I-390 and under the Genesee Valley Park bridges, the trees grew over the waterway, forming an almost silent green tunnel, broken by stretches of open sun.  Eventually, we were blocked by fallen logs and had to turn around and retrace our steps back to the river.

August 5th found us back on Red Creek with our “Environmental Stewardship” paddle.  We were joined by staff from Seneca Park Zoo who described the invasive threats to our waters and well as adding to our knowledge of the creek’s resident fauna.  Along the way, we picked up trash that had accumulated in the creek from the adjoining park activities.

Our fourth event, on September 17th, was a “first time ever” event for all of us.  We paddled 4.5 miles up the Erie Canal to Lock 33 at Edgewood Avenue.  Going through an Erie Canal lock in a kayak and getting a water-level view of the lock’s operation and massive scale was an opportunity none of us will soon forget.  Leaving the lock, we feasted on apples from a tree overhanging the canal, then exited at the White-Water Paddling Center at Lock 32 in Pittsford.

Our final paddle of the season took place on October 7th – Roc the Riverway Weekend.  On a chilly and breezy day, we paddled downriver from the Waterways Center to the Ford Street Bridge, enjoying the fall foliage and Rochester city skyline.

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