Muskoka Watershed Council (MWC) received a much needed boost in funding from the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience (GMPE). GMPE organizer Sandy Schofield presented MWC Chair Lou Guerriero and MWC Vice-Chair Kevin Trimble with a $4,000 cheque at the MWC meeting held on Friday.
This was the sixth year for the annual event, and it had seen a remarkable increase in participation rates, from 86 paddlers in the inaugural race to almost 300 paddlers taking to the water in 2016. The increasing number of participants, as well as the excellent local businesses and organizations that sponsor the event, has allowed GMPE to raise over $20,000 for the protection of watershed health since the event started in 2011.
“Muskoka Watershed Council relies on the money raised by this paddling event to carry out our projects, and we are extremely thankful for the hard work of the organizing committee, the many volunteers, sponsors and participants in making each paddling event bigger and better than the previous year’s,” noted Guerriero.
The money raised at the 2016 event will go towards the delivery of the next Muskoka Watershed Report Card, scheduled for release in 2018.
“MWC releases a report card every four years, and the 2018 report card will be our fifth. The report card tracks changes in the watershed over the long-term, providing a comprehensive analysis of Muskoka’s environmental health,” said Christy Doyle, MWC’s Director of Environmental and Watershed Programs. “Doing this requires many volunteers, resources, and funds, and the kind contribution from the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience will go directly to the development of our next report card.”
Organization is already underway for the 2017 Great Muskoka Paddling Experience, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 7th. The event is for paddlers of all ages and skill levels and features categories for kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards (SUP). It is sanctioned by the Ontario Marathon Canoe & Kayak Racing Association (OMCKRA), and has won OMCKRA “Race of the Year” honours three times in the past six years.
For more information, visit www.muskokapaddlingexperience.com.