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Stroke Yourself: Paddling events in Central Oregon Summer 2011 

Paddling events in Central Oregon for the Summer of 2011

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It is safe to say that Bend's paddling community is one of the strongest and most diverse in the country. From the hordes of stand-up paddleboarders, to the expert raft guides, to the whitewater kayakers making their daily runs down Meadow Camp, Bend loves to paddle!

This summer there are plenty of opportunities to get more involved and improve your paddling skills. Check out the activities and classes below and have a great season on the water.

Stream Stewardship Day

The Annual Stream Stewardship Day, hosted by the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council is a wonderful opportunity for river advocates of all ages to get down and dirty while cleaning up Central Oregon's rivers and streams. Meet down at McKay Park on June 4 at 10 a.m. for kick-off activities. Groups will then travel to Tumalo Creek, Whychus Creek, or stay on the Deschutes River.

Volunteers will be involved with hands-on stewardship projects along the riverbanks. This is also a great day for the kids. Bend Parks and Recreation and REI will lead a nature hike and a bird walk for families where they will learn about the Deschutes River and the river trail. They will also get the chance to witness divers removing debris from the Deschutes River.

Pickin' & Paddlin'

On the last Wednesday of every month throughout the summer, Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe hosts live music and boat demos on the lawn behind the shop. From 4 - 7 p.m., Tumalo Creek's fleet of 50 demo boats will be available to try for free with plenty of paddling experts on hand to answer questions and get boaters comfortable on the water.

One of the primary goals of the Pickin' and Paddlin' series is to boost awareness about the safety hazards of the Colorado Bridge and raise money for improvements. Members of the BPTA will be at an information booth to answer any questions. Donations are encouraged. Special edition Tumalo Creek/BPTA pint glasses will also be for sale at these zero-waste events for $10.

The music starts at 7 p.m., and with some of Bend's best live bands on the schedule, get the whole family out and dancing as the sun sets over the Cascade Mountains.

This summer's Pickin' & Paddlin' line-up:

June 29 - The Sweet Harlots, the all-girl earth pop trio

July 27 - Pitchfork Revolution, electro-acoustic experimental bluegrass

August 31 - Moon Mountain Ramblers: High Desert newgrassers

September 21- Blackstrap, hot and fast bluegrass pickers

Bend Paddle Trail Alliance News

The BPTA recently launched a new website and an integrated social media marketing campaign. See the new site at www.bendpaddletrailalliance.org and join their Facebook page to show your support for their work, including efforts to transform the Colorado Bridge into a whitewater recreation area.

The BPTA finished installing informational signage on nine of the Cascade Lakes last summer. The next step in this project is to complete river signs and two have already been installed. The remaining nine will be completed by June 30, 2011.

The signs provide boaters with important information on hazards and safe launching and take-out areas. They also display naturalist information about wildlife in the area and their habitats. Paddlers should also consider picking up a copy of The Deschutes Paddle Trail Cascade Lakes Guide (free), and the Deschutes Paddle Trail River Guide ($15).

Northwest Community Credit Union Bend Paddleboard Challenge

This new event takes place on June 18 at McKay Park and raises money for the BPTA and the Parks and Recreation Foundation Scholarship fund. The Challenge includes three competitive events: a six-mile course and a two-mile course and an "expression session" where competitors can show off their skills, like jumping over their paddles, paddling on one leg, turning on one leg, and doing dance moves. The session will be judged on originality, skill and style. Competitors and spectators will also have the opportunity to demo equipment from some of the country's top SUP manufacturers.

For those who are interested in improving their paddling skills, Karen Wrenn will be teaching two clinics the day before the event, Friday, June 17 at Riverbend Park. Register for the clinic by calling Stand Up Bend at 541-639-2655 or emailing info@bendpaddleboardchallenge.com

Kricket Serota: A shining light is battling for
her life

Kricket Serota is a much-loved, strong and beautiful woman who has been living in Bend since 1999. During that time, she has played many roles, including as a professional snowboarder, raft guide in Colorado in the summers, and a bright face as an employee in such establishments as Pine Tavern, the Blacksmith, and recently, East Bend Liquor. Boaters know her best out on the water where she shines as an amazing whitewater kayaker with enthusiastic encouragement for those who are just starting out.

Kricket is currently battling cancer and is in the care of her parents in Michigan. If you know Kricket, there are plenty of ways you can send her some Bend love. Make a 6x6 patch for a quilt that is being made to help Kricket through the healing process. Drop your patch off at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, or come in during business hours to make a patch with the supplies that are there. If you have some pictures or anything else you would like to send Kricket, email laurel@tumalocreek.com for her

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