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ODNR Offers Free Summer Fun with Annual Paddle Palooza Festivals

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will host three Paddle Palooza Festivals this year at Cowan Lake State Park, Portage Lakes State Park and Maumee Bay State Park. These free, family-friendly events are a great opportunity for people to try a variety of canoes and kayaks, and learn how to do stand-up paddleboarding. Experts will also be available to share information about local paddling activities and resources. The Paddle Palooza Festivals will be held rain or shine, and if lightning occurs, activities will be delayed for 30 minutes.

Cowan Lake State Park
Sunday, June 18
1– 5 p.m.
Contact: Sarah Blair

Portage Lakes State Park
Saturday, June 24
12–4 p.m.
Contact: Stephanie Uber

Maumee Bay State Park
Inland Lake
Sunday, July 9
11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Contact: Sarah Genzman

Paddlesports in Ohio have increased in popularity over the past several years. In 2016, more than 181,203 Ohioans registered canoes, kayaks or other paddle-specific watercraft. Over the last decade (2007-2016), Ohio’s kayak and canoe registrations (including liveries) have increased 151 percent.

Those numbers are expected to grow as the state continues to invest in the paddling community. From 2006 to 2016, more than $7 million was provided through community grant programs and publications. This support provided carry-in and small boat access, as well as hands-on skill development through local education and recreation programs, including the Paddle Palooza Festivals and the Paddle Ohio program. It also funded publications detailing stream access and paddling opportunities.

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft is responsible for managing Ohio’s 74 state parks and providing the finest outdoor recreational opportunities, including first-class boat services, facilities and law enforcement for users of Ohio’s waterways and public lands.