Standing at the Mexico boat launch on Day 6 of the Source to the Sea are, from left, Ferg Lea, Becky Secrest, Judy Gervais, Dave Wallace, Ingeborg Wallace and Lindsay Werner. Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin

 

From May into September, paddlers will travel nearly 170 miles down the Androscoggin River during the 24th annual Source to Sea.

Hosted by the Androscoggin River Watershed Council, the series of day trips began in Lake Umbagog in New Hampshire. The last trip ends at Brunswick Park where the river enters Merrymeeting Bay.

Day 6 of the trek, July 12, featured a 9.2-mile paddle from Mexico to Dixfield. Becky Secrest, event coordinator, said the day began with Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners providing a tour of the Rumford dam.

“That’s one of the things they’re doing for us this year. They give lots of tours of their hydro projects, and we’ve done several of them over the years as part of Source to Sea,” Secrest said.

The Source to Sea started Memorial Day weekend.

“We decided maybe shouldn’t do it during the middle of summer because there’s so many things happening, Secrest said. “We’re spreading it out, doing a weekend or two each month from May to September.”

She said the participation has been good, and they’ve seen a lot of wildlife — loons, ospreys, deer and moose.

“The thing I really wish people would do is sign up online. Even if you don’t pay online, it’s OK,” she said. “Even if you choose not to come, that’s OK. If people would just register online, so that if we have a rain day, or if we decide to cancel, we can notify you beforehand.”

Secrest said a lot of people just show up the morning of the event, which makes it hard for shuttling and if food is provided.

People can register at www.androscogginwatershed.org/
Participation is free for paddlers; however, a voluntary, tax-deductible donation of $20 is requested to support the nonprofit Androscoggin River Watershed Council in offsetting the costs of organizing the event.

Participants should bring their own paddle-powered boats, appropriate gear, and lunch. River guides will be provided by the Watershed Council and shuttle arrangements determined each day of the event.

“When you go to all these places, you get to see things that you wouldn’t ordinarily see,” Secrest said. “We want to get people out of the towns and see things from a different perspective, and meet new people.”

The trek schedule is:

  • Day 8, Saturday, July 27, 7 a.m., Valentine Farm, North Road, Bethel, bird watch walk with Mahoosuc Land Trust.
  • Day 9, Thursday, Aug. 8, 5:30 p.m., Festival Plaza Boat Launch, Auburn.
  • Day 10, Saturday, Aug. 10, 8:30 a.m. Twin Bridges, Leeds, to Center Bridge, Turner.
  • Day 11, Sunday, Aug. 11, 8:30 a.m., Auburn to Rancourt and back.
  • Day 12, Saturday, Sept. 7, 8:30 a.m., Mill Street Boat Launch in Brunswick.
  • Day 13, Sunday, Sept. 8, Brunswick to Merrymeeting Bay.

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