The morning of August 15th saw Long Lake alive with the sounds of laughing children as brightly colored kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddle boards were being eagerly paddled out at Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club’s (SCKC) 4th annual Paddle, Splash, and Play event. The event allowed the public to try out different kinds of paddle craft for free with volunteers on sight to provide instruction and ensure the safety of those out on the water. Although the turn out this year proved to be the largest yet with over 100 waivers signed each hour, there was never a long wait. Even as one boat or board went out, another would come back allowing both children and adults a chance to try out sit on top kayaks, whitewater kayaks, and paddle boards that were provided by SCKC and their partners. Arguably the most impressive paddle craft was SCKC’s new 22ft Voyager canoe which seats up to eight at a time. Under the guidance of Brook Swanson, families were able to experience paddling the large canoe while idly making their way through the seas of lilies on the search for the ever elusive turtles residing in Long Lake. Despite the wind picking up about midway through the event, spirits remained high as a newfound love of water and the outdoors was cultivated by both children and adults alike.

Photo: Siobhan Ebel

Photo: Siobhan Ebel

As Stan Mrzygod, president of SCKC puts it, “getting kids out there and physically engaged in a sport – that’s our biggest gift to society.” The number of children begging their parents to stay a little longer certainly seems to suggest it was a gift well received. The success of this year’s event comes in part thanks to SCKC, Avista Utilities, Mountain Gear, Spokane Parks and Rec., Riverside State Park and the volunteers who donated their time and resources to the event.

Photo: Siobhan Ebel

Photo: Siobhan Ebel

Additional information:

SCKC offers a number of opportunities for members including a Whitewater paddle on Wednesday afternoons, Thursday night paddles, and a number of weekend paddling trips and events including the upcoming Upper Priest Lake trip on September 19th through the 20th. For more information visit the SCKC website at www.sckc.ws. //