by Christina Ammon
I’ve launch my kayak into the Applegate River only a few times over the years. Each time I’ve dared a voyage, I’ve felt a little like Lewis & Clark: Wide-eyed, adventurous and—completely out-of-my-depth. The Applegate River isn’t floated often, so its bends and rapids feel distinctly unknown. Common lore is scant. Where is it ok to put-in, or take out? What are the hazards? It’s always a thrilling adventure‑ occasionally too much an adventure: Long stretches of dragging my boat through ankle deep water, limbo-ing under low bridges, and a few rapids that are surprisingly large. Reader take note: The Applegate River is not for the faint-of-heart!
Local paddler Angie Fuhrmann has also always felt a little mystified by the Applegate River. The former Rogue River guide was very familiar with Applegate Lake—she’d explored its many alcoves and campsites with her sailboat— but she long-wondered about the river.
“I started to ask around and realized that not many people get out and paddle it.”
With the help of an Innovation Grant from A Greater Applegate, she gathered a group of friends and started the Applegate Paddle Club. The group that brings together not just kayakers, but also rafters, canoers, stand up paddle board enthusaists alike. Their goal? To foster an active paddling community, promote water safety and education, and steward the shorelines. One of their current projects is to map the Applegate River. They hope to have it published by fall.
The Paddling Club’s first formal meeting was last March and they have another meeting planned for mid-June (date TBA). At the June gathering, the Applegate Partnership & Watershed Council will provide an invasive species training for the paddlers to help with local monitoring and management efforts.
Understanding private property boundaries is also high on the Club’s list of goals. It’s important for that paddlers be prepared and know where the public put-ins and take-outs are located.
The group may file for nonprofit status at some point in the future, but for now they are a club. If you are interested in joining, head over to their website: www.applegatepaddlingclub.org
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