Kayaking is a far world away from the way it is always portrayed in the movies. Many times we affiliate a kayaking trip with white water tipping over and being in danger ever second of the trip. But there is another world of kayaking called flat-water kayaking. And thanks to the Get Outdoors PA program, you can get out and try some flat-water kayaking at our state parks.
There are a large number of kayaking programs at our local Johnstown area state parks this weekend. In general these programs are designed for beginners with some basic instruction with time on the water during a guided paddle. Many kayak programs in the state parks require pre-registration and are limited to participants 12 years of age and older. During the paddling programs, all equipment will be supplied for those borrowing park kayaks. These are some general guidelines, so you should always check the program announcement for specific information.
Keystone State Park is one place for some kayaking programs this weekend. The park which is located about 1 hour west of Johnstown has kayaking programs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Two programs include a guided kayak tour. On Friday, you can come out to enjoy an Evening Paddle to observe the wildlife on the lake. The program starts at 6:00 pm. On Saturday, you can try to Kayak Keystone beginning at 2:00 pm. This is an introductory level program to kayaking and includes a guided paddle after some basic instruction. Both of these programs are free. On Sunday you can come out for the Introduction to Kayaking. This program involves a 20 to 30 minute lesson with a chance to paddle the lake on your own for about an hour. This program has a cost of $8.00. To register for the programs please call the park office at (724)668-2939.
Another location for some flat-water kayaking this weekend is Canoe Creek State Park near Hollidaysburg. There is a Kayak Paddling Skills Program at 9:30 on Monday, September 5. This is a beginner’s level program which is free, but at this time only had one spot still available. On Saturday afternoon you can join the park naturalist for the Wildlife Watching Kayak Tour. This tour begins at 2:00 pm and has a cost of $5.00. Another opportunity exists at the park on Sunday with a volunteer opportunity. Come help out and join the park naturalist for a guided paddle while you participate in the Park Clean-up by Kayak. This is a free program and starts at 9:30 am on Sunday. All of these programs start at the boat rental at the park and require pre-registration. You can register by clicking on the link for each program announcement.
If you like birding, then Laurel Hill State Park is the place to try. The park, located about 50 minutes southwest of Johnstown outside of Somerset will be presenting Birding by Boat. The program on Monday, September 5 starts at 9:00 am. You will enjoy a morning paddle around the lake looking for our feathered friends that make the lake a wonderful place. Pre-registration is required and can be done by going to the link for the program announcement or by calling the park visitor’s center at (814)352-8649.
One last park to consider is Shawnee State Park in Schellsburg about 50 minutes southeast of Johnstown. There are two paddling programs on Monday, September, 5. Join the south-central outdoor recreation coordinator for the Good-bye Summer paddles. There is one in the morning beginning at 10:00 am and then another in the afternoon beginning at 2:00 pm. Come out for the guided paddle on Shawnee Lake and learn about the changes the lake will go through moving into winter as you watch for wildlife. The program starts at the Colvin Boat Launch off of SR 96. Pre-registration is required and can be done by clicking on the appropriate program announcement link above.
So come out and learn about flat-water kayaking this weekend Johnstown. It is a great opportunity to try a new activity for little or no cost. And remember that kayaking can be addictive. See you on the lakes.