top of page
Paddles Up Niagara

18th Annual Paddles Up Niagara Saturday July 27, 2024
(Rain date set for July 28, 2024)

Paddles Up Black Logo_edited.png

What: Paddles Up Niagara is a family friendly and safe way to experience the natural areas and unique habitats of the Niagara River.  Whether you are a novice or an experienced paddler, you will enjoy spending the morning with an enthusiastic paddling community. Guides and safety paddlers will be on hand to assist and answer your paddling questions. Continue the celebration by visiting with the many exhibitors and vendors to learn more about our waterways and greenspaces. Stick around for some refreshments and prize drawings, including a paddle board!


Beaver Island State Park, Grand Island, NY

Check in at Shelter 2B


In order to communicate important messages with participants, such as a cancellation due to weather, a free account setup is required with the Grand Island Town Recreation Department.

Paddles Up Niagara Event Site Map 2024.jpg

FREE T-Shirt for the first 200 Registrants!

Click on maps above to enlarge images

When: Saturday July 27th 2024


7:00 AM - Eco-tour Lite - New this year!   

Tour Guide: Paul Leuchner - Check in and launch from East River Marsh

This tour will have all the wildlife viewing but with less paddling. It is meant for beginners or those who are more interested in learning about the habitat. This tour will take up to 1 hour and is for people age 12+.




7:00 AM -  Eco-tour #2   

Tour Guide: Joe Menter - Check in at Shelter 2B and launch from beach

7:30 AM -  Eco-tour #3   

Tour Guide: Erin Redding - Check in at Shelter 2B and launch from beach

The eco-tours #2 and #3 begin at Beaver Island beach and are a bit longer and more strenuous than the Eco-tour Lite. They are meant for more intermediate to advanced paddlers. These tours can take up to 2 hours.  Both Eco-tour #2 & #3 are for people age 12+

All Eco-tours are designed to be smaller in size, so everyone can hear the guide interpret plants and animal life as they guide the group through habitats around Beaver Island. Spaces are limited so please register early and only if you know you can attend. IF your plans change, PLEASE cancel your reservation, so someone else can have your spot. Please be ready to depart from launch site 10 minutes prior to start time. Each eco-tour is limited to 15 participants each. All youth participants must be accompanied by an adult.




8:00 AM - Eco-tour Hike  

Tour Guides: Edward Fuchs and Joanne Schlegel

Back again for the 2nd year! The Eco-tour Hike will be lead by members of the Niagara Frontier Botanical Society, it will begin at shelter 2B and walk to River Lea and the Allenton Farm. From there it will continue on down the East River Trail, to the Kayak launch and then return to shelter 2B. The expert guides will identify and discuss trees, shrubs and flowering plants along the way. It is an easy walk on level ground. This hike is limited to 16 participants. If you register and your plans change, PLEASE cancel, so we can open up a spot for someone on the waiting list.



8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  - 15 minute Kayak Trial Sessions - New this year!  

Instructors: Kelly Sieman and Tina Spencer

These sessions are offered by the NY State Parks Interpretive staff, who perform regular learn to Kayak sessions throughout the summer. For the Paddles UP Niagara event, they are offering a 15 minute kayak trial session on a first come first serve basis. If you have ever wondered what it would feel like to sit in a kayak in the water, now is your chance to experience just that! Our expert trainers will walk you through how to get into a kayak and how to paddle correctly. Kayaks and PDFs will be provided. If you decide to participate in the Fun Paddle you can rent a Kayak from Blue Water Marina, information below. These sessions are offered to anyone age 12 and up and are limited to 10 participants at a time.  The sessions will be taking place at the Beaver Island Beach launch site, near shelter 2B.


10:30 AM - Fun Paddle!!

The large Fun Paddle leaves from Beaver Island beach goes past the Marina, around Little Beaver Island, and then back to the launch site. This is session is unique because it is a very large group, possibly the largest in NY State all launching at the same time! We have safety paddlers to help guide the group along the route and the Park Police and GI Fire Department on motor boats to keep motor boats away from the paddlers. All youth participants under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult.


9:30 AM - 12:30 PM - Environmental Exhibitors & Vendors

Make sure to visit the many organizational partners that will be exhibiting important water safety equipment & information, sharing environmental resources and other interesting facts about our unique and precious natural resource that surrounds WNY, our Great Lakes and the Niagara River! Participating organizations include; Citizen Coalition for Wildlife & Environment, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, WNY Land Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Black Rock Riverside Alliance, Grand Island Nature Alliance, Department of Environmental Conservation, Niagara Region Parks Interpretive, Niagara Frontier Surfrider, Ladders to the Outdoors, Buffalo Museum of Science, Erie County Climate Action, Well Now Urgent Care, Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm, CW Native Botanicals and Buffalo Maritime Center.

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM - Live Canoe Paddle Carving by Buffalo Maritime Center - New this year!  

A longtime member of the BMC & skilled craftsman, Jonathan Thornton, will show off his hand tools that are used to shape wooden canoe paddles, as he does a live carving demonstration. You will have an opportunity to sit on a shavehorse, and try out the tools yourself. View a wooden strip canoe and learn how they are made.



11:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Free admission to Grand Island Historical Museum at River Lea!

Paddles Up participants will have the opportunity to step back in time and see what it was like living on Grand Island during the 1800's, when Grover Cleveland's uncle, Lewis Allen, built the mansion, that is now called River Lea. If you have been inside River Lea in the past, you may want to make another visit because it has gone through some changes with new displays. To follow recent developments with the museum and historical society visit:

Little Green Heron East River Marsh Photo by Paul Leuchner (002).jpg
East River Marsh July 2020.JPG
Common Egret Motor Island After the Storm June 2020.jpg
Swan Beaver 5-11-22.jpg
Old River Lea.png

All Registrants will be entered to win prizes, including a life vest, dry bag, paddle, a paddle board and all kinds of paddling accessories !

Where to rent kayaks:

For individuals who don't feel like bringing their own kayak, or for those who are just starting out and need a kayak, please contact Blue Water Marina.  They are a trusted partner with quality boats and they bring the kayaks right to the Beaver Island Beach on the day of the event. 

Blue Water Marina Logo.webp

Address: 330 East River Rd. Grand Island, NY

Phone: 716-773-7884


Important Must Do's:

Personal Flotation Device


All paddlers MUST wear a zipped up coast guard approved lifejacket, anyone who refuses to wear a lifejacket will not be permitted to paddle with the group. Lifejackets must be worn properly.

Sound Producing Device


Paddlers should bring a whistle on their watercraft. NY State Parks Marine Services will have some to pass out at the event. If you are in need of assistance on the water, blow your whistle and wave your arms or paddle in the air to alert the safety paddlers.

Follow the Course


Paddlers must follow the designated course and display their numbers on their boat or lifejacket.  Race type bibs with numbers will be supplied on the day of the event.

Thank you to our Sponsors:
West Herr Logo.png
Grand Island logo.png
2023_WN_Full Color_RGB_Urgent Care (12) (6) (1) (2) (002).png
C&S CompaniesBox.jpg

Organizing Partners:

NRGLogo high quality.jpg
grandisland_logoblue (002)_edited.png
OPRHP Centennial Lockup_WhiteGold_HoldShape-R (002).png
DEC logo green.png
bottom of page