Mill Creek MetroParks kicks off kayaking season

The unofficial start of summer brings with it the beginning of kayaking season at Mill Creek MetroParks.

Beginning today, MetroParks visitors can hit the water on their own or participate in a kayaking trip led by a MetroParks guide.

“We’re very happy to get the season started,” said MetroParks naturalist Marilyn Williams, who will lead the First Kayak of 2018 event from 10 a.m. to noon today at Lake Newport.

Kayaking is permitted on lakes Newport and Glacier, with launch points from boathouses located on both lakes. Visitors can bring their own kayaks, or the MetroParks offers kayak and paddle boat rentals at the boathouses.

Williams said all skill levels are welcome. For the next several months, the MetroParks will host weekly guided kayaking trips, which Williams said are good opportunities to learn the basics.

“We will show you how to paddle,” she said. “It’s a good way to learn with a group, with the volunteers and naturalists here to help you. It’s easier than you think.”

Williams said kayaking trips provide good opportunities to explore nature and relax.

“It’s very quiet and soothing,” she said. “We do see a lot of birds. It’s a good way to come out and enjoy the lakes and the wetlands.”

MetroParks naturalists and volunteers prepared for the start of kayaking season this week with a scouting tour. Williams explained the weather can lead to yearly changes in the water channels, which only adds to the experience.

“Each time is different. Each season is different,” she said. “You never know what you’re going to see.”

Guided kayak trips are scheduled every weekend of June, July and August, plus two dates in September and one in October. For a complete schedule, visit Register and pay two days in advance at Ford Nature Center. The cost is $12 per person for Mahoning County residents, $15 for nonresidents, and the second seat in a tandem kayak is half price.

Rentals are available at the Lake Glacier Boathouse from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and on holidays. They are available at Lake Newport on weekends and holidays.

Pedal-boat fees range from $5 to $15, based on length of rental and residency.

Kayak rental fees are $8 per hour for county residents and $4 for an additional half-hour. They are $15 per hour and $7.50 for an extra half-hour for nonresidents. The second person in a tandem kayak is half price in both cases.

The MetroParks also offers passenger-boat rides from noon to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays, as well as chartered boat trips.

For information, visit the MetroParks website or call 330-740-7107.

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