Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tubes to Tires

Below is a column I had published in the September 13th, 2011 edition of the Kings County Record.  It was a great day on the water of a river I take great pride in.  The lower reaches of the Kennebecasis River are a great paddling or floating destination as it has a leisurely pace, and cool, clear water.  I have made a career out of trying to maintain this watershed so it was a great to take some time and enjoy it at a slower pace.  

It has been a wet summer so far and the rivers have been running full throughout most of the season.  These wet spells with their sporadic intermissions of a few hot and sunny days have made it great for enjoying the rivers.  Lucky me, I am able to do this on a regular basis as part of my job with the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee (KWRC). 

Every year, as the summer students the KWRC often hire, get ready to go back to school; they are provided with a recreation and science based field day as a bit of a reward for their hard work through the summer.  This year the students were given a chance to tube down the Kennebecasis River with a mask and snorkel and prepare some notes on what they saw.  The seemingly continuous rains had the water high enough that it promised to be a rapid float from Sussex to Apohaqui.  On the day of the float the weather was surprisingly sunny so the students were eager to go.

With pick up vehicles arranged and a supply of water and snacks, snorkels and masks, the KWRC staff made our way to the water.  I snickered at the various techniques used to get onto the tubes.  Some were graceful and hardly got wet while others had no worries about getting into the cold water and aggressively threw their tube into the water and jumped onto the tube.  Of course the latter just as quickly slid over and off his tube into the water as well.

Tubing is unlike other modes of river transportation.  It is more relaxed, much less active, than say canoeing or kayaking.  That can be true but for me, I can't help but kick and paddle with my arms and legs.  Many times I would leave my tube floating as I would dive to the bottom of a deep pool to see what was there.  It was an active float to say the least.  It was a rush to feel the speed I could get when I swam under water with the current.

The only disappointment of the day was the fact that the water was murky and visibility through the water was minimal, even with the mask and snorkel.  We were able to spot a few trout and almost as many tires.  Speaking of tires in the river and the KWRC, don't forget about the "Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup" being hosted by the KWRC on September 24th from 1-4.   This event will aim at cleaning up 500lbs of waste and litter from the Trout Creek below Maple Avenue in Sussex.  Interested volunteers can meet behind Baird's Plaza, 654 Main Street, Sussex.  Once there you will be appointed to a team and asked to work at cleaning up a section of shoreline.  Refreshments and a small social will be held from 3:30-4 to tally the results.  Come help improve the fish to tire ratio on the Kennebecasis River.

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