May 22, 2023
Introducing the Saranac Lake Paddling Challenge: A Decidedly Different Paddling Adventure!
Located in New York State's Adirondack Park, Saranac Lake beckons paddlers with its picturesque setting amidst lakes, ponds, and rivers, offering awe-inspiring vistas of the nearby mountains and forest preserves. Within the village limits, adventurers will find convenient boat launches for Lake Flower, Lower Saranac Lake, and Lake Colby. Downtown, the Saranac River gracefully winds its way through the village, adding to the paddling allure. Within a 30-minute radius, numerous paddling opportunities abound, including the renowned St. Regis Canoe Area, boasting a myriad of serene ponds. Many of these water bodies are part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a remarkable 740-mile water trail stretching from Old Forge, New York, to northern Maine. The abundance of nearby waterways has fostered the growth of several canoe outfitters and a multitude of licensed outdoor guides, establishing the Saranac Lake area as a haven for paddling enthusiasts. It makes sense, then, that Saranac Lake be home to a Paddling Challenge.
A collaborative effort
Liz Murray, an avid kayaker with a passion for exploration, was inspired by the Tupper Lake Triad Paddling Challenge and its sense of achievement. Determined to bring a similar experience to Saranac Lake, she reached out to Jason Smith and Rich Harris of Adirondack Lakes and Trails. Together, they embarked on a journey to create something extraordinary – the Saranac Lake Paddling Challenge.
To shape this unique endeavor, Jason presented the idea at the Celebrate Paddling committee meeting, which brought together prominent figures in the local paddling community. Attendees included Brian McDonnell from MAC's Canoe Livery, Maeghan Farhnam from St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, Chris Morris representing the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Anne Fleck from Raquette River Outfitters, Rachel Karp from the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, and myself, Kenzie Marine, the Saranac Lake Regional Manager for ROOST.
Out of this collaboration, the Saranac Lake Paddling Challenge was born, coinciding perfectly with Celebrate Paddling, a month-long celebration of paddling in the greater Saranac Lake region offering themed paddles, guided trips, the Celebrate Paddling Invitational, as well as the Adirondack Paddling Symposium. Celebrate Paddling is hosted by the above-mentioned outfitters, in addition to Guide ADK, Battlefish Charters, and the sponsors.
Leave No Trace
Through the collaborative efforts of all involved, we have created a unique opportunity for paddling enthusiasts to explore the beauty of Saranac Lake's waters and forge unforgettable memories here. Our hope is that the challenge will help promote the outdoor recreation available in this region, and foster a deep appreciation for the natural surroundings, keeping in mind that our waterways are a delicate ecosystem. We remind participants to clean, drain, dry and practice Leave No Trace ethics to ensure there is no spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) during your challenge. The Adirondack Park provides a haven of pristine wilderness in New York state’s northernmost reaches, and we aim to keep it that way. Practicing good stewardship and taking the pledge to Love Your ADK in a way that is mindful of others will help to do so.
A decidedly different paddling challenge
As a decidedly different community, Saranac Lake embraces its uniqueness, and it is only fitting that the paddling challenge follows suit.
So, what sets the Saranac Lake Paddling Challenge apart?
Five thrilling paddles: While most paddling challenges in the Adirondacks feature three paddles to complete, our challenge presents five. The team had the tough task of selecting the most captivating paddles from the abundance of opportunities available in Saranac Lake.
A patch like no other: Our patch is a testament to our distinct identity. Breaking away from the traditional round design, it showcases vibrant colors inspired by the iconic Saranac Lake branding and features a striking diamond shape, capturing the essence of our community.
Unparalleled paddling support: Saranac Lake is blessed with three exceptional paddling outfitters, an unmatched level of support for paddlers. This extensive network ensures you'll have everything you need for an unforgettable experience on the water.
Now, let's explore the paddles and how you can earn your patch:
Paddle 1: South Creek to Second Pond
Paddle 2: Second Pond to Lake Flower
Paddle 4: St. Regis Chain of Lakes
Paddle 5: Follensby Clear Pond Loop
Paddling challenge kickoff
Kickoff to the Saranac Lake Paddling Challenge will be June 1, 2023 to coincide with Celebrate Paddling ADK. Registration and completion of the five paddling routes must begin on or after that date. To receive your well-deserved patch, sign up for the challenge on our website, SaranacLakePaddlingChallenge.com, and upon completing all of the five paddling routes, the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce will be thrilled to provide you with your official patch.
Prepare to embark on an extraordinary paddling adventure, immersing yourself in the beauty of Saranac Lake's waters and unlocking the thrill of exploration.
For rentals, gear, or provisions, check out the local outfitters and nearby shops before hitting the water. Visit SaranacLakePaddlingChallenge.com for more information, and join us for the Saranac Lake Paddling Challenge!