Thursday, July 03, 2008

Occoquan Water Trail League

If you want to get out and explore nature and hone your kayaking skills, Northern Virginia has some of the best kayaking places one could hope for. To help build the paddling community in our area, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority helped create the Occoquan Water-Trail League.

last week I had the opportunity to go on a late afternoon paddle to four other kayakers out of Pohick Bay Regional Park. All but one of the group were involved in the establishment of the Occoquan Water-Trail League (OWL). This is a friends group of paddlers the Regional Park Authority helped establish about a year ago.

The Regional Park Authority owns 25 miles of contiguous waterfront along the Bull Run/Occoquan Rivers from Bull Run Park in Centerville to the Occoquan Dam near the Town of Occoquan. We designated the water-trail as a 40 mile resource that continues on the down stream side of the dam to include Occoquan Regional Park, Mason Neck State Park and around the Mason Neck Peninsula to Pohick Bay Regional Park.

The Park Authority converted our annual car-top launch pass into an annual OWL membership with unlimited launch privileges at NVRPA sites and also at Mason Neck State Park. The goal with OWL is to create a cadre of dedicated paddlers that could help spread the news about these amazing resources and contribute to their protection through service project.

Lots of recreational boaters love nature and support parks, and one of the groups that is most environmentally focused are sea kayakers. The peacefulness of paddling along on the flat water, and the ability to really travel some distances in these long boats is great for nature watching.

Mason Neck State Park and the Prince William County Park Authority have been great partners in the establishment of this water trail.

If you would like to get more involved with the local kayaking scene here are some good links:

  • Occoquan Water-Trail League

  • Chesapeake Paddlers Association is a great group - The Pirate's of Algonkian group from CPA has regular paddles out of both Fountainhead and Algonkian Regional Parks.

  • American Canoe Association - Great resource for safety information
  • Woody's Kayak Trips is a great page from a local paddler. Woody has been very involved in the creation of OWL, his site has great information.
  • Kayaking in Virginia - Good resource page.
  • Paddling in Virginia - This site has reports on various paddling locations.

Get out there and have fun!

No comments: