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posted: 5/15/2014 1:39 PM

Test the waters at 'Paddle in the Park' on Saturday

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Submitted by MCCD

Test the waters, dip a paddle in the crystal clear waters of Lake Atwood and discover the joy of canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding at "Paddle in the Park" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at The Hollows Conservation Area, 3804 Route 14, Cary.

Hosted by McHenry County Conservation District, this event is an opportunity for beginners to get introduced to the sport or for experiences paddlers to pick up information on local outings and outfitters.

"McHenry County residents have access to many nearby waterways and our hope is that we can get individuals and families to take their next outdoor adventure on the water," said Communications Manager Wendy Kummerer.

Entry to the event is free and for a onetime workshop fee of $5 visitors can test paddle a variety of water vessels and participate in a canoe paddling clinic offered at 10:30 a.m. and noon, and kayak paddling clinics at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Clinics also will be offered for stand-up paddleboard, solo canoe paddling, and canoe rescue techniques. Visitors also will discover the importance of the canoe in early American settlement, exploration, and the fur trade industry. The Southwest Brigade, historical interpreters, will demonstrate a voyageur canoe.

"Not only is canoeing or kayaking fun, but a great opportunity to get closer to nature," said Andy Tally, event coordinator. "In a canoe or kayak, you have access to more intimate waters. That can bring you closer to wildlife than any other form of transportation."

Local vendors will be on hand to discuss the different types of watercrafts available and which type might best suit you or your family's needs. A number of canoeing resources will be available such as information on where to paddle, where to get lessons, clubs to join, local outfitters and rentals, and details on local river trips and Midwest excursions. Also featured will be music by Potts & Pans and have food for sale by Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen.

Participants this year will include the Illinois Paddling Council; U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary; local canoe and kayak clubs such as Prairie State Canoeists, and Southwest Brigade; local outfitters such as, Flatwater Canoe and Kayak Rental, and Rocktown Adventures; plus retailers, including Erehwon Mountain Outfitter, Alpine Accessories, LL Bean and Capsurz-windproof your cap.

Registration is not required. For more information call Prairieview Education Center, (815) 479-5779 or visit