Time to dust off that old canoe and find your life jackets! A race along the Winooski River is being planned for Saturday, June 7th. Organized by the Friends of the Winooski River, with support from the Vermont River Conservancy, Umiak Outfitters, and the Richmond Grange, the 1st Annual “Onion River Race” will be along the 10-mile stretch of river between Bolton and Richmond. Proceeds from the race will support efforts to protect, restore and improve river access in the watershed.
Between Bolton and Richmond, the Winooski River passes through a scenic cut in the Green Mountains and is primarily flatwater. However, paddlers must navigate one rapid of note just downstream from the put-in, where some maneuvering is necessary around rocks.
“We hope this race encourages appreciation for our home river, and builds community through some friendly competition,” says Noah Pollock, member of Friends of the Winooski.
Paddlers can choose to race in one of eleven race classes, from stand-up paddle boarding to business teams. Following the race, participants are invited to a homemade meal provided by the Richmond Grange, with music by Colin McCaffrey. There will also be a hands-on exhibit demonstrating how rivers move and change.
Participants must be at least 10 years of age to participate. Race fees are $25 per adult and $15 for those under 18. The fee includes lunch and shuttle services, provided by Umiak Outfitters. Participants are asked to register by May 31st. Those interested in being part of the day but not participating in the race are invited to volunteer on race day. For more information, to register, or to sign-up as a volunteer, visit onionriverrace.us.
This event was inspired by similar races held in other states. The Kenduskegeag Race, for example, is held every May near Bangor Maine, drawing upwards of 500 participants each year.
The Friends of the Winooski River is volunteer-driven organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Winooski River and its tributaries. The organization promotes river health through hands-on restoration projects, education, and outreach. The Vermont River Conservancy works to protect exceptional lands along the waters of the state. Since 1996, the organization has completed over 60 projects, protecting popular swimming holes, traditional fishing accesses, and critical river corridors for all to enjoy.