We are in very turbulent times with the spread of the Covid-19 Pandemic and I am sure that most of you like myself are wondering how this will affect the upcoming paddling season. As this situation seems to be progressing daily we can only speculate at this point and provide known information at the current time of this publication, with that being Monday March 16th.
Today the Governor Cuomo has made a directive that follows the CDC guidelines to prohibit social gatherings of over 50 people. The CDC guideline states for 8 weeks but the Governor did not specify a time frame for New York's directive. The paddling season was set to start in the coming month so this is a critical time and there have already been cancellations, postponements, and changes to some scheduled paddling events.
This weekend, the NY Spring Camp was set to be the biggest to date but because of the current environment some needed changes have been set forth. The plan is to still paddle both days as paddling in an of itself falls within guidelines set out from our governmental institutions but all dry land activities have been cancelled. The put in spot has also changed to Bryants Bridge in Saratoga Springs, NY as the overall attendance numbers will now be lower that previously expected.
The next big news is the Rat Race. This is a very well attended race that tends to kick off the season for many paddlers in the North East and unfortunately was just cancelled. I have a feeling that our early spring season will have a larger number of cancellations at least until there is more clarity in the current environment.
In Michigan, the Klondike is the race that normally opens their season and this race has currently been postponed from April 4-5 to the 18th. We are still watching this race as this might change in the coming weeks if the situation does not show signs of improvement.
Canton Canoe Weekend is also within the 8 week time frame provided by the CDC but it appears they are currently holding off for a little while longer before they make their final decision. Make sure to check back here as we will keep you posted with latest information.
Although the big races (triple crown events) are still at least 10 weeks away. A large number of entrants travel substantial distances to participate in these events I will not be surprised if you start to seem some general information coming from them soon. As of right now the General Clinton is advising that they plan to make their final decision as of May 1st, and the ARCM is still holding off to see what develops in the coming months.
With all this turmoil I do want to say that this does not in anyway mean that you shouldn't still be paddling. Canoeing is a great way to get outside and falls into guidelines for social distancing so it is a great option to get you away from your phone screen and realize that we will get through this and our races will inevitably continue at some point.
There has been some talk on Social Media about starting some Digital Based races using strava segments and I think that is just a great way to keep the competitive juices flowing. If any of these events formalize over the coming months we will keep you posted!