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Old July 11th 04, 03:21 PM
Garrison Hilliard
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Default Beauty of river strikes boaters at Paddlefest

Sunday, July 11, 2004
Cincinnati Enquirer

Beauty of river strikes boaters at Paddlefest


By Ari Bloomekatz
Enquirer staff writer

Some were in kayaks or canoes by themselves, others in pairs, some in
small groups and a few boats even had crews of almost 15 working their way
down the Ohio River Saturday during Paddlefest.

In its third year, nearly 1,200 people in 700 to 800 boats either
aggressively raced or simply floated on the river during the event
sponsored by the Ohio River Way, a local environmental group.

"Canoeing and kayaking are very rapidly growing sports that are easy for
people of all ages," said event chairman Brewster Rhoads.

Rhoads said Paddlefest is the largest kayak and canoe festival in the
Midwest and is important because it helps promote one of the area's most
valuable resources and attractions.

"For generations, people have been turning their backs on rivers in
general. But now people are turning their orientation toward rivers,"
Rhoads said, noting the new riverfront development.

Tim Morrison, 57, said he moved to Cincinnati from Long Island, N.Y., two
years ago and was excited about tapping into Ohio's paddling community.

"When I was coming under the yellow bridge and the purple bridge, that was
phenomenal," he said.

Morrison was just one of the paddlers who said the river was more
beautiful than expected.

"Prettier than I thought it was going to be," said Mike Kovasckitz, a
pilot from Columbia-Tusculum who rode Saturday with his 9-year-old

In addition to a 6-mile relaxed float down the river, Paddlefest included
both an amateur and a professional race.

U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, joined the 9-mile amateur race and
said he placed third.

"I love paddling and I love this river. It's a great ... event to showcase
the Ohio River," he said.

"Rivers are undervalued in America," said Mike Fremont, President of
Rivers Unlimited, a statewide river protection agency.

"If you make them (rivers) attractive, if you provide access, if you make
them reasonably clean, that provides the maximum potential (for the


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Old July 11th 04, 11:26 PM
Professional Target
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Default Beauty of river strikes boaters at Paddlefest

[text snipped]
This is a little troubling in a way: since the sport is becoming so popular,
as is claimed in this article and many others, does this mean we'll start
seeing overcrowding and careless, irresponsible water users? If so, it's
only a matter of time before using those waterways becomes either heavily
restricted or, in the flag-waving American tradition, simply illegal.

I'm all for people discovering the sport of paddling, but those who do must
remember that they're making use of natural resources which must be respected
and left undisturbed.

Leave no trace.

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."
- B. Franklin

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