Several North Carolina state parks, in partnership with the North Carolina chapter of the American Canoe Association (ACA) and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, will offer low-cost kayaking instruction at state parks statewide Saturday, May 20 The event is in celebration of National Safe Boating Week, which begins the same day.
The event follows a collaboration between the ACA and the state of Tennessee in 2022, which hosted more than 170 participants and earned a Four-Star Award for an innovative program from the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association.
“The volunteer instructors are excited to help out again this year to bring new paddlers into our sport,” said ACA Southeastern Chair Andrea White. ”Just one day of training can make the difference between setting yourself up for a bad experience that ruins the sport for you versus setting yourself up for a whole lifetime of paddling fun, enjoying our amazing waterways.”
Participating North Carolina state parks for this event are:
Jockey’s Ridge State Park Jordan Lake State Recreational Area
Hammocks Beach State Park Morrow Mountain State Park
Carolina Beach State Park Hanging Rock State Park
Cliffs of the Neuse State Park Lake Norman State Park
Falls Lake State Recreational Area Lake James State Park
Division of Parks and Recreation Interim Director Brian Strong is happy to see events focusing on boating safety. “We love providing opportunities to paddle for our residents and visitors to North Carolina. Paddling comes with some of the greatest responsibility for visitors,” he said. “Being educated and prepared improves safety not only for paddlers but also for emergency personnel.”
Classes offered by the ACA will cost $15 per person for the day, a discount of over $35. All instructors are volunteers who are nationally certified to provide paddling and rescue training. Each park’s event will be limited to 15 participants. Participants can either bring their own kayak or indicate at registration that they would like to borrow a kayak, paddle and life jacket at no additional cost.
These classes are made available by certified instructor volunteers and safety boaters from multiple organizations and businesses. Equipment and financial support were donated by other sponsors. All partners and sponsors have helped to make this event possible with one goal in mind: to help educate paddlers statewide who enjoy North Carolina waterways and paddlesports.
Partners and sponsors include: North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, the North Carolina flotillas of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Carolina Kayak Club, Carolina Canoe Club, Paddle NC, Outdoor Women, Catawba Riverkeepers, Cape Fear River Adventures, Kitty Hawk Kites, Frog Hollow Outdoors, Great Outdoor Provision Co., Haw River Canoe and Kayak Company, Team River Runner - Pineland Chapter, Campbell University, Jackson Kayak, CBS Sports, FEEL Free Kayaks, Two Sisters Adventures, and Nantahala Outdoor Company.
Interested parties can register at https://tinyurl.com/Kayaking-101-NC. In-person spaces are limited. A free online class is also available; however, in-person training with a certified instructor is strongly encouraged.
The ACA is the national accrediting body for paddle sports education.
ACA North Carolina Contact: William Holman (910) 578-392
About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 256,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 19.8 million visitors annually.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.
The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.