Paddlers on Saturday, June 3, 2023 will be treated to unique vistas of the Westfield River at the annual Westfield River Watershed AssociationCanoe and Kayak Cruise. This leisurely six-mile paddle from the Great River Bridge in Westfield to Robinson State Park in Agawam reveals a river so special that parts of it are designated Wild & Scenic by the US Congress.
Members of the Association lead the group through the lower watershed past former industrial sites and restored riparian areas that are once again teaming with fish and wildlife. Bald eagles, blue herons, beavers, otters, red tailed hawks and snapping turtles are likely to be seen. The event begins at 9AM at the corner of Meadow and Elm Streets in Westfield and concludes at approximately 2PM in Robinson State Park in Agawam.
“This family-friendly on water event began in 1997 with the Watershed Association wanting to get more people to appreciate the natural beauty of the Westfield River," says Brian Conz, a WRWA Board member and professor of geography at Westfield State University. “Each year there is great excitement as people get a view of the river so removed from urban life yet inherently a part of it. The route takes paddlers through some of the riverine wilds hidden just out of sight from some main roads and neighborhoods, revealing the critical habitat for many of our local species.”
The Westfield River Watershed Canoe & Kayak Cruise is suitable for novice paddlers who welcome the added support of navigating the river in a group. Participants need to bring their own canoe or kayak, paddles and personal flotation devices, as well as sunscreen and drinking water. Organizers recommend that participants have some experience paddling, given that river conditions may be unpredictable. Children under 18 must be supervised by a parent or guardian. Children under 14 must paddle in the same boat as an adult. Other suggestions for what to bring include a picnic for a late lunch once you reach Robinson State Park and snacks for munching along the way. A shuttle will carry paddlers to the start so that they can leave their vehicles at the finish.
Event Details The participation fee of $15.00 per person ($10 for members) helps cover shuttle service, insurance and light refreshments. Registration begins at 9 AM in the municipal parking lot off Meadow Street near the Great River Bridge in Westfield. Participants will register, unload boats and gear, drive their vehicles to Robinson State Park and return by shuttle to the launch area. Staggered Cruise departures will begin around 10 AM.