Head for the Hills — Oswegatchie, That Is — for Annual Niantic River Kayak Regatta

From a water’s-eye view on the Niantic River, an unbroken swath of green rises majestically on East Lyme’s western bank that contrasts with the houses, marinas and nuclear power plants spread out on the eastern shore and beyond.

These are the Oswegatchie Hills, a 420-acre Nature Preserve that comprises one of the largest sections of open space along Connecticut’s highly developed shoreline.

The preserve’s views reward from land as well as from water. Officially opened in 2007, it includes more than 3 miles of trails that meander past an abandoned pink granite quarry, alongside ponds and streams and through dense forest. Along with the Barn Island Wildlife Management Area in Stonington, Bluff Point Coastal Reserve in Groton and Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme, the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve offers some of the best hiking with water views in southeastern Connecticut.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday, Aug. 18, a group devoted to preserving the hills plans to stage its ninth annual Niantic River Appreciation Day Kayak Regatta, partly a parade, partly a race but mostly a celebration of efforts to keep the hills unspoiled. I hope to be there to support the cause and to enjoy a paddle among fellow kayaking enthusiasts.

The free event is sponsored by the organization Save the River-Save the Hills, which for nearly a decade has been fighting to block or limit a Middletown developer who has repeatedly applied to build a high-density housing complex in the hills adjacent to the preserve. I hope the preservationists win, because, as is sadly often repeated, once such treasured land is built upon it is forever devalued and defaced.

Save the River-Save the Hills also has sponsored programs on water quality testing, watershed education and a pumpout boat. More information about the group and Saturday’s event is available on the website SavetheRiver-SavetheHills.org.

Participants may launch their kayaks at 10 a.m. or earlier at Three Belles Marina, 113 Oswegatchie Hills Road, Niantic.

The parade starts at 10:15 in front of 47 Oswegatchie Road, followed by short races for different classes of boats at 1 p.m.

There will be music, food, a fire boat demonstration and a drawing for prizes.

Hope to see you there!

 

Reader Comments

MORE BLOGS

Our Debt of Gratitude to President Obama, the Environmentalist-in-Chief

As we prepare to inaugurate a president who has repeatedly called climate change a "hoax," appointed as Environmental Protection Agency administrator an Oklahoma attorney general who is suing that agency, named the CEO of ExxonMobil as secretary...

Call of the Wild: A Clash Over Cellphones in The Great Outdoors

"Yeah, I’m standing on the summit now! … The view is incredible – I can’t believe I’m getting a signal up here!"

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Plunging into Icy Fishers Island Sound at the Annual New Year's Day Run-Swim

Look, I’m not going to lie: While some longtime participants in one of southeastern Connecticut’s most enduring, challenging and madcap traditions insist that plunging into icy water after a run on Jan. 1 is a refreshing and...

No Such Thing as Too Much Fun: A Great 2016; Hopes for an Even Better 2017

When it comes to adventurous fun my philosophy has always been too much is never enough, so when I look back at the highlights of the past 12 months, as I typically do when the calendar is about to flip, I can honestly say that 2016 was a...

Hey, Has Anybody Else Noticed It's Gotten A Little Chilly?

I guess I first realized the temperature had dropped a few degrees when I went out for a 5-mile run this morning and noticed that my eyelids had started to freeze shut, which loyal readers will recognize as Level IV on the Fagin Frigidity Index,...

Granola Munchers Vs. Snickers Gobblers: Conflict Over Plans for a Hotel on New Hampshire's Mount Washington

The first time friends and I trudged up New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in winter the frozen peak might as well have been Antarctica – hurricane-force winds and blinding snow battered us, the only climbers that day atop the highest...

How to Build a Stone Wall in 14,863 Easy Steps

I realized long ago that you’re never really finished building a stone wall, even after you’ve dragged and hefted into place what seemed like the final boulder, exhaled mightily and stepped back to admire your work.

Just in Time for the Holidays: Fagin's Annual Gift Catalogue for the Discerning Outdoorsman and Outdoorswoman

How often does this happen to you: You’re merrily tearing through the woods in your four-wheeler and come to what looks like a shallow stream but turns out to be a deep, water-filled ditch, so your beloved machine sinks like a stone beneath...

Arduous Autumn

In spring we crawl out of our cocoons and celebrate bursting rejuvenation; in summer we play outside from dawn to dusk; during the dark, frigid winter we hunker down like hibernating bears – which leaves fall, when we try to set aside time...

Chain Saw? We Don't Need No Stinking Chain Saw…

So, did you hear that doctors have developed a new method of performing an appendectomy without using anesthesia? It’s exactly like the old operation, except it hurts like a son of a b.

You CAN Go Home Again: A Run Through My Old West Haven Stomping Grounds

Although for decades I’ve been living in a home surrounded by trees that is heated primarily by wood stoves, and I enjoy kayaking, mountain climbing, building stone walls, growing organic vegetables and many other active outdoor pursuits,...

Utah Rocks Part II: Kayaking Down The Colorado River

Propelled by a swift current on the Colorado River earlier this month, my son, Tom, and I gazed at red rock cliffs gleaming against an azure, near cloudless sky. The rustle of aspen and cottonwoods in a gentle breeze mingled with the rush of...