BETHEL — Hundreds of paddlers are expected to participate in the 17th annual Source to the Sea Trek, which is being staged as 18 day trips from July 6 to Aug. 4 on the Androscoggin River.
Organized by the Androscoggin River Watershed Council, the trek begins with a sunset paddle near Lake Umbagog, the source of the Androscoggin. It meanders through northern New Hampshire and Western Maine, and enters Merrymeeting Bay in Brunswick.
Paddlers may join the trip for one day or many.
“It’s been 40 years since the Androscoggin served as the inspiration for the Clean Water Act,” Jessie Perkins, organizer of the trek, said. “The progress that has been made is incredible. People are paddling and fishing the entire length of the river, and every year there are new pockets of activity — trails, events, businesses, and more are springing up all over the place.”
“Every section has something special — you can see wildlife on every section, even in downtown areas. We are also excited about our Paddle After Hours events, which are shorter, easier evening trips designed for after-work socializing.”
Participation is free for trekkers; however, a voluntary, tax-deductible donation of $10 is requested to support the nonprofit Watershed Council to offset the costs of organizing the trek. Participants should bring their own paddle-powered boats, appropriate gear and lunch. Shuttling will be arranged by trek organizers.
Many days include an educational component, with speakers on topics that include history, ecology, conservation and economic development in the area. A complete schedule, including maps, section descriptions, special events, and easy online registration, is available at www.androscogginwatershed.org.
Sponsors for this year’s trek include Sunday River Ski Resort, NextEra Energy Resources, Verso Paper of Jay, and Liberty Mutual Insurance, Brookfield Renewable Power.
The nonprofit Androscoggin River Watershed Council was founded in 1999 with a mission to continuously improve environmental quality and promote healthy and prosperous communities in the Androscoggin River Watershed.
For information go to http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/illegal_stocking.htm, or www.facebook.com/androrwc.