LISBON – An annual six-mile canoe race on the Androscoggin River during the annual Moxie Festival is a new opportunity to highlight the work of the Androscoggin Land Trust’s conservation work, the trust’s executive director Jonathan LaBonte said.
This is the first year the trust will coordinate the race, which is in its 11th year. About 180 paddlers participated in the race last year, which is a highlight of Lisbon’s annual Moxie Festival. This year the race will be held Sunday, July 12, starting at 11 a.m.
The race features competitive classes but is largely meant to be a “fun day” on the river for all ages and families, LaBonte said.
Registration for the race is $15 per person and that includes a T-shirt and lunch from Sam’s Italian Sandwich Shoppes.
“It’s historically been promoted as a race and there are people who compete to be the first in their class,” LaBonte said. “Otherwise it’s a fun day out on the river for people to paddle.”
The race is one of several events the land trust is hosting this summer to help bring a bigger focus on the Androscoggin River as a recreational resource for the community.
Proceeds from the race will be used to cover the costs of hosting it, with any additional proceeds going toward further land trust acquisitions for trails along the river and its watershed in Durham and Lisbon, LaBonte said.
On July 25, the trust will hold its annual picnic and barbecue on Gulf Island Pond on the river at the Bates Boathouse in Greene. That day will feature both boating on the river and hiking on the Homestead Trails in the nearby Riverlands State Park, LaBonte said.
The trust is also planning to offer guided canoe trips during the Great Falls Balloon Festival. People will be able to join canoes and kayaks to watch morning and evening ballon launches from the river near Simard-Payne Park in Lewiston.
The effort to highlight the recreational opportunities along and on the river are part of an ongoing effort to change the long-held historical perception that the river is too dirty or polluted to enjoy safely, he said.
“Hey, we are going to be out there and we hope people will join us,” LaBonte said.
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