Want to get together with other canoeists and sea kayakers? On May 9, 2015, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) is hosting its first ever Freshet Fest including paddling activities on the LaPlatte River in Shelburne, Vt. followed by an evening of meeting NFCT Through Paddlers—people who have paddled the entire 740-mile route in one trip—at Splash at the Boathouse in Burlington, Vt.
A “freshet” is a flood of a river due to heavy rain or melting snow. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail Freshet Fest celebrates the arrival of the paddling season as springtime weather in the Northeast creates freshets as winter’s ice and snow melt away from the 740-mile water trail’s 22 rivers and streams, and 58 lakes and ponds.
Since its founding in 2000, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail has documented 79 paddlers who have canoed or kayaked the entire route of connected lakes and rivers from the Adirondacks to Maine’s Allagash River. The Freshet Fest will bring together five of these intrepid adventurers for a panel discussion to share their best, worst and funniest moments on the trail.
Panelist and Wisconsin native Katina Daanen fell so in love with her adventure that she wrote a book, “The Northern Forest Canoe Trail Through Paddler’s Companion,” to help future paddlers. “I had always wanted to spend more time in the Northeast and the Trail gave me the opportunity to explore new states—and even a bit of a second country—at the pace of a paddle stroke.”
On-the-water events include a morning poling clinic (12 person limit) for canoeists wanting to learn this valuable skill for upstream travel, and an afternoon social paddle (all paddle craft welcome!) on the LaPlatte River in Shelburne.
Evening activities take place at Splash at the Boathouse in Burlington with an NFCT Through Paddler panel discussion, a catered dinner, followed by guest speaker Matt Hopkinson’s presentation “Upstream Challenge: 180 Miles by Canoe.”
Registration for events is required. Cost for dinner and evening presentations is $22 NFCT members /$27 non-members. Find event details and register online at www.northernforestcanoetrail.org.
At NFCT’s Freshet Fest, Matt Hopkinson will lead a morning canoe poling clinic and be the evening guest speaker. Hopkinson has placed in regional and national canoe poling championships. He has many paddling adventures under his belt including canoeing from the Saint Lawrence Seaway through Québec and Maine to Penobscot Bay. His presentation will be about his 2014 trip in which he paddled and poled 180 miles up the Penobscot River to draw attention to newly restored spawning habitat for the endangered Atlantic salmon.
About the Northern Forest Canoe Trail
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is the longest paddling trail in the nation and runs from Old Forge, New York through Vermont, Québec, and New Hampshire to Fort Kent, Maine following ancient Native American travel routes. We protect and steward our water trail and foster community vitality to promote inspiring outdoor experiences in the Northern Forest Region. In 2014 the Northern Forest Canoe Trail was named “Editor’s Choice–Best Canoeing” by Yankee Magazine.