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Spring warm-up buoys Bend Paddlefest

By Joe Burns
Published On: May 05 2013 10:47:52 PM CDT

Have you ever wanted to kayak but never knew where to start? You could have learned at The Tumalo Creek Annual Spring Paddlefest this weekend.

BEND, Ore. -

A chance to try kayaking at Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe's annual Spring Paddlefest swept into Bend's Riverbend Park this weekend, helping those who've always wanted to try, but didn't know where to start.

Peter Newport, president of Sawyer Paddles and Oars in Bend, says paddle-boarding is now getting drawing people in all walks of life, and the sport is being picked up by 41,000 people a day.

"It's like a combination of cross-country skiing and kayaking, and so we have the paddling element," Newport said Sunday. "And I like to stand up, and you can see all the features, and your legs aren't cramped in a boat. So it's a full-body workout, if you want to do it that way. It's just a great way to see the Deschutes and see the lakes."

The Paddlefest also featured the 25th annual Salmon Run. The 10-k and 5-k event benefits The Environmental Center's youth education foundation programs. 

Those programs teach kids about recycling, solar power and conserving water. 

New this year was a half-marathon that attracted a lot of interest.

More than 500 people turned out for the race and The Environmental Center says they love the community support.

"We have support from lots of different places but a big part of how we do what we do is by community support," said Mike Riley, executive director of The Environmental Center. "And events like this are just a great way to have a really good time with your family, and be a little competitive, that's part of the Bend spirit. It really makes a big difference to us and our education programs." 

The run started and finished at the Riverbend Park, and runners wound their way along the Deschutes River.

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