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Everybody’s paddling for the weekend

Mon., June 9, 2008

This weekend is prime time in the Spokane area for cheap thrills in kayaks and canoes.

Saturday may be the day to float the idea of getting the family into a muscle-powered boat.

Sunday will be the time to haul the neglected vessel you already own from under the deck and join the crowd on Lake Spokane (Long Lake).

The annual Spokane River Canoe Classic and its associated Paddle Fair have been moved this year from the rushing waters and rapids of the upper Spokane River to a new venue on the flatwaters of the reservoir behind Long Lake Dam.

“Being on the lake opens the event to more people,” said Phil Bridgers, spokesman for event sponsor Mountain Gear.

The activities will be staged from the grassy park at Nine Mile Resort in Riverside State Park just downstream from Nine Mile Dam. Saturday’s free event will let people try new canoes and kayaks, and related gear.

The annual Father’s Day Weekend Canoe Classic fun race will launch from the resort beach on Sunday morning. The race will have four- and eight-mile courses and people of all paddling abilities are encouraged to enter. While ribbons are awarded to winners of various divisions, all participants are eligible for the best prizes given in the post-race drawings.

Motor-boating class: If power boating is your pleasure, remember that everyone age 20 and younger must have a boating safety card in order to operate powerboats, including jet skis, this year in Washington waters. A class that meets the requirement will be offered Saturday at Sportsman’s Warehouse. To preregister, call (509) 891-1900.

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