York River State Park looks to take folks up the creek, with paddles

Staff writer

With the start of summer, the York River State Park rangers have a cool surprise for visitors in June.

With kayaking, canoeing, fossil hunting and opportunities for visitors to not only observe nature but touch it, too, the York River State Park has plenty of options for a summer by the water, according to park ranger John Gresham.

For the “Pick your Paddle” trips, folks can choose between paddling in a canoe or a kayak along Taskinas Creek during the day or at sunset on the York River, Gresham said.

The group.guided-paddle tour is good for visiting families, Gresham said.

“It’s flat water canoeing or kayaking, so you don’t have to worry about rapids,” Gresham said. “It’s great for people just getting into paddle sports.”

Gresham is one of the rangers who leads the tours. He said before the groups hit the water, they’ll be taught the basics on how to paddle safely.

“It’s a chance to check out the plant and animal life in the marshes and along our river, to just experience the water and how different it is from the rest of the park,” Gresham said.

The park will also celebrate Estuaries Day on June 8 at 10 a.m. as the park welcomes master naturalists and representatives of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to show visitors the beauty and science underneath the water’s surface.

“Estuaries Day is a celebration of all things along this brackish water ecosystem we have,” Gresham said.

Families will have the opportunity to canoe, kayak and hunt for 8 million-year-old fossils, according to Gresham.

A park ranger will stand at the water’s edge “seining” or casting a net to pull in juvenile fish and small crabs and talk about their role in the ecosystem, Gresham said.

Canoe rentals cost $9 per person or $6 per person with a family of four or more people, according to the Department of Conservation and Recreation fee schedule. Kayak rentals cost $16 for a solo kayak or $11 per person for a tandem kayak. Parking at York River State Park costs $5 per vehicle. Just don’t forget your bug spray, Gresham said.

Pick your Paddle and the sunset tours will run on June 1 at 4 p.m and again at 7:30 p.m., June 2, 9 and 23 at 5:30 p.m.

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at srobertsjr@vagazette.com and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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