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River Friends to show off Chemung River during two-day, 24-mile-long paddle trip

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Kayakers and canoeists from Colorado, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia have registered for this weekend’s 2019 Chemung River Showjourn paddle trip from Corning to Wellsburg.

The 24-mile Showjourn begins at the Conhocton Street Boat Launch on Saturday, June 22, and ends at the Toll Bridge Boat Launch on Sunday, June 23. The 60 paddlers will stop for lunch at Bottcher’s Landing Boat Launch in Big Flats and eat dinner and camp at the Grove Street Boat Launch in Elmira.

On Sunday, the paddle trip continues to Wellsburg with a portage around the Chase Hibbard Dam in downtown Elmira, lunch at a riverside picnic spot behind Bradley Farms in the town of Ashland and a stop at a historic talk about Dunn Field and the osprey nest on a river island.

“We call it a Slowjourn because we are going to show off the river, the river communities and the beauty and adventure that the 45-mile waterway provides,” said River Friends Executive Director Jim Pfiffer.

“We’re attracting people from around the country who will hopefully enjoy the Slowjourn and return with their friends and family for more river adventures. That’s how our rivers help attract tourists, outdoor recreation fans and people who enjoy nature,” Pfiffer said. “It’s good for the economy and for our region’s reputation for providing excellent and varied water adventures from tiny trout streams to the Finger Lakes.”

The paddle will be guided by Southern Tier Kayak Tours with help from Chemung River Friends and the AHWAGA Canoe & Kayak Club.

The paddle perks feature: educational talks along the way, a tour of a riverside Civil War Prison Camp, live music, massages by massage therapists, fire department assistance on and off the water for additional safety.

There will also be a Boy Scout campfire with S’mores, an American flag ceremony and plenty of other surprises.

Some of the paddlers will paddle both days and others only on Saturday or Sunday. As of June 19, there were only paddling slots open (both on Sunday).

Fire departments will be assisting with security and safety along the way. A volunteer group of veterans and active service members will be at each boat launch and the dam portage to help paddlers get their boats in and out of the water.

River Friends worked with Elmira City Council to pass a resolution allowing camping and a campfire at the Grove Street Boat Launch, with the city’s permission, and there is a $50 permit fee.

The public is invited to watch and photograph the paddlers and cheer them along from the river banks.

The Showjourn fee is $55 a day per paddler. To register and buy tickets, go to www.eventbrite.com. For more information: riverfriends@stny.rr.com, www.chemungriverfriends.org or 607-846-2242

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