Special to the OBSERVER
Buffeted by brisk winds, choppy lake waves, overcast skies and cool temperatures, 62 canoes and kayaks manned by over 70 paddlers completed the inaugural Paddle for Chautauqua Lake fundraising event benefitting the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) recently.
The race was led by experienced kayaker and proprietor of Evergreen Outfitters of Ashville Mike Kingsley. Paddlers traversed the two, 2.47-nautical mile legs of the course between Lakeside Park, Mayville and the Miller Bell Tower at Chautauqua Institution in just over two hours. The winner
More than 60 canoes and kayaks participated in the inaugural Paddle for Chautauqua Lake fundraising event benefitting the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA).
The event was the inspiration of the Shults Auto Group of Jamestown and was modeled after other successful paddling fundraisers that occur throughout the United States and Canada. Sponsors of the event were Shults Subaru of Jamestown, Time Warner-YNN News, Evergreen Outfitters, US Foods, the Village Casino (Bemus Pt.), Diamond Cafe, Pepsi of Jamestown, Chautauqua Marina, Falconer Printing & Design and Molly Brown Signs. The CLA provided the paddlers with a continental breakfast, "green" water bottles and lunch following the event. Shults Auto Group provided "launch" prizes to participants and a Breeze kayak was raffled off accompanied by discount coupons for kayak accessories and lessons at Evergreen Outfitters. The winner of the kayak was Sally Hach of Ellicottvile.
The CLA handled event logistics receiving tremendous support from its Board of Directors who served as Special Navigation Inspectors. The Mayville Fire Department and the Dewittville Volunteer Fire Department Emergency Marine Rescue team were also on hand to support the event. Ten volunteer kayak safety kayaks provided on water support of the paddle participants and reported that all participants safely completed the course without incident.
CLA President Chris Yates said, "This event showed off the recreational use of Chautauqua Lake and may become an annual attraction for kayakers and canoeists from not only Southwestern New York State but the Western New York Region."
A kayaker who travelled from Clarence to participate noted it was an enjoyable and scenic setting for the event and should be able to attract a broad range of enthusiasts from the Buffalo, Rochester and Erie in coming years.
Promoted as a multi-generational outing, the event drew several local families and their friends. Shults Subaru General Manager, Darren Hills, paddled with his wife and two children.
"Folks from novice paddlers to the more experienced kayakers thoroughly enjoyed being out on the lake today" he said. When asked if this will become an annual event he commented that he is, "looking forward to that."