Update (6/20): Due to the recent rains and high river levels, the 2019 Chemung River Showjourn, that was supposed to take place July 22 and 23 has been changed to just Sunday, July 23. The original trip was to begin at the Cohocton Street Boat Launch in Corning, on Saturday, with participants paddling to the Grove Street Boat Launch in Elmira where they were to camp overnight and complete the trip to Wellsburg on Sunday.
With the new schedule change, paddlers will meet at 9 a.m. July 23 at the Dunn Field Boat Launch in Elmira and paddle seven miles to the Tollbridge Boat Launch in Wellsburg, arriving around 2 p.m.
The paddle trip, led by Southern Tier Kayak Tours and Chemung River Friends, includes a lunch stop (to be determined depending on river conditions) along the way and on-river talks about the river, the water cycle and things to see and do in our region. There is still a slight chance that Sunday’s paddle will also be cancelled if the river doesn’t recede to a safe level.
“We know this is a major inconvenience and disappointment to our paddlers, but safety is our first concern,” said Chemung River Friends Executive Director Jim Pfiffer. “The last three days of heavy rains have raised the river to hazardous levels. We believe that the water levels will come down enough by Sunday to make it safe to paddle form Elmira to Wellsburg. By cutting out Saturday’s trip, we avoid the hazardous Chase-Hibbard Dam in Elmira and a few difficult paddling spots between Corning and Elmira.”
All paddlers will be reimbursed for their fees for the Saturday portion of the trip.
The paddle trip is called a Showjourn to show off the river, its beauty and its connections to the regional communities.
“We will still show off a beautiful section of the river and promote the use of the river for recreation, education and a commune with nature,” Pfiffer said.
Kayakers and canoeists from Colorado, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia have registered for this weekend’s 2019 Chemung River Showjourn paddle trip from Corning to Wellsburg.
The 24-mile Showjourn begins at the Conhocton Street Boat Launch on Saturday, June 22, and ends at the Toll Bridge Boat Launch on Sunday, June 23. The 60 paddlers will stop for lunch at Bottcher’s Landing Boat Launch in Big Flats and eat dinner and camp at the Grove Street Boat Launch in Elmira.
On Sunday, the paddle trip continues to Wellsburg with a portage around the Chase Hibbard Dam in downtown Elmira, lunch at a riverside picnic spot behind Bradley Farms in the town of Ashland and a stop at a historic talk about Dunn Field and the osprey nest on a river island.
“We call it a Slowjourn because we are going to show off the river, the river communities and the beauty and adventure that the 45-mile waterway provides,” said River Friends Executive Director Jim Pfiffer.
“We’re attracting people from around the country who will hopefully enjoy the Slowjourn and return with their friends and family for more river adventures. That’s how our rivers help attract tourists, outdoor recreation fans and people who enjoy nature,” Pfiffer said. “It’s good for the economy and for our region’s reputation for providing excellent and varied water adventures from tiny trout streams to the Finger Lakes.”
The paddle will be guided by Southern Tier Kayak Tours with help from Chemung River Friends and the AHWAGA Canoe & Kayak Club.
The paddle perks feature: educational talks along the way, a tour of a riverside Civil War Prison Camp, live music, massages by massage therapists, fire department assistance on and off the water for additional safety.
There will also be a Boy Scout campfire with S’mores, an American flag ceremony and plenty of other surprises.
Some of the paddlers will paddle both days and others only on Saturday or Sunday. As of June 19, there were only paddling slots open (both on Sunday).
Fire departments will be assisting with security and safety along the way. A volunteer group of veterans and active service members will be at each boat launch and the dam portage to help paddlers get their boats in and out of the water.
River Friends worked with Elmira City Council to pass a resolution allowing camping and a campfire at the Grove Street Boat Launch, with the city’s permission, and there is a $50 permit fee.
The public is invited to watch and photograph the paddlers and cheer them along from the river banks.
The Showjourn fee is $55 a day per paddler. To register and buy tickets, go to www.eventbrite.com. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.chemungriverfriends.org or 607-846-2242