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2017 Summer Paddling Preview

Written by Lesley Sheridan
    Thursday, 01 June 2017
2017 Summer Paddling Preview

Warm weather has arrived, and that means it's canoe and kayak season! If you missed this blog post when it was originally published in 2015, we think you'll find it's just right for inspiring visions of sunny days out on the water. Read on, and be sure to take a look at our full list of summer paddling programs after the post!

How to Love a River

I once asked a friend of mine, if he could have anything for a birthday present, would he want? His response – a river. What an amazing answer!

There is something about rivers that people are drawn to, something intrinsic. Maybe it’s the unpredictability and power of a river that commands our respect, or the mystery and intrigue of the life concealed beneath a river’s surface. Perhaps it’s the freedom and excitement we feel when we're recreating on a river. Or it could be the smell, the sound, the primal feel of the river that restores us. Maybe it’s something different for everyone…

For me there's the reminder of the comforts of home. I grew up in a small town with our river, the Apple River, right across the street from my house in my grandparent’s backyard. Later I spent time in living in a town along the scenic bluffs of the majestic Mississippi River.

paddling photo
A relaxing paddle down the Milwaukee River.

When I moved to Milwaukee, I was excited that I would again be living within walking distance of a river, but skeptical that the Milwaukee River could compare to either of "my" rivers. But having spent the last couple of years learning about the river, seeing the river almost every day, and leading programs with the Urban Ecology Center that help others experience the river, I’ve come to love the Milwaukee River just as much as the other rivers in my life!

Walking my dogs along the Milwaukee River trails is one of my favorite ways to enjoy my new river. The other is canoeing! I had never been in a canoe until I began working in environmental education, but it didn’t take me long to get hooked. Two summers ago a friend and I canoed from Newberg to Cedarburg in a trip that became known as "canoeing the ‘Burgs." We paddled about 26 river miles in 8 hours and it was one of the best days of my life. I’d spend every summer day in a canoe if I could!


“A river, though, has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us.”

 - from A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean


Summer Paddling Programs

We encourage you to explore our local rivers and find out what draws you to the water. Contributing members can borrow our boats and chart their own course, or if you need a help launching your boat or a shuttle to pick you up when you're through, check out the Center's Paddle Sports Porter service for the easiest way to arrange your adventure.

For other ways to play, discover, and fall in love with the water, check out our full schedule of summer paddling programs below!

River Rhythms Paddle (multiple dates)

Full Moon Canoe (multiple dates)

Kayak Downtown Milwaukee - (multiple dates)

Canoeing for Beginners - (multiple dates)

Paddle Under the Summer Sun - June 24

Family Fish and Paddle - July 8

Fox River Moonlight Paddle - August 5

Kayak Outing to Village Park - August 27

Lesley Sheridan

Lesley Sheridan

Lesley Sheridan is the Community Program Coordinator at the Urban Ecology Center -- Riverside Park branch.

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Riverside Park

Monday, November 20th

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

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