Even more family fun planned for the 3rd annual Great Muskoka Paddling Experience
The Great Muskoka Paddling Experience (GMPE) is back for a third year and promises to be even more fun for everyone. Held annually on the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend, it is a great activity to participate in with your family.
The event has seen a steady increase in participants since the first race was held in 2011, and has been the recipient of the Ontario Marathon Canoe and Kayak Racing Association’s “Race of the Year” award for the past two years. The event draws many competitive racers from around the province but is also an excellent opportunity for casual paddlers to get out and enjoy a paddle along the Muskoka River, one of the best paddling routes in the area.
New this year, in addition to the 10-kilometre and 18-kilometre races, there will also be a 2.5-kilometre untimed Family Fun race with a special per-boat registration fee and a token of completion for all participants.
“We noticed that with the poor weather last year, participation in the event by families had decreased. It can also be a bit intimidating for beginner and novice paddlers to enter a race against some of the more competitive racing boats, so we created a shorter race that would be fun for families and beginners to participate in to get their feet wet,” explains GMPE organizer Sandy Schofield.
Schofield credits the great success of the event to the hard work of the more than 40 volunteers as well as the great support received by the sponsors, including the Town of Bracebridge, who provided a Community Tourism Grant, and Paddle Shack and Algonquin Outfitters, who provide many of the prizes handed out to participants.
The proceeds of the event are donated to the Muskoka Watershed Council to support their work championing the health of Muskoka’s watersheds. This year’s event will be taking place on October 12th at Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge. For more information about the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience, visit www.muskokapaddlingexperience.com.