Tennessee State Parks Partners with American Canoe Association for Kayak Education | Outside
Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport and Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park in Limestone are among 12 Tennessee state parks joining the Tennessee Chapter of the American Canoe Association to offer low-cost kayaking lessons. cost as part of National Safe Boating Week on May 21. 27.
The ACA is the national accrediting body for paddle sports education. Classes are offered at a discount, costing $15 per person, with revenue going to Tennessee State Parks. All instructors are Tennessee volunteers who are nationally certified to provide paddle and rescue training.
A limited number of kayaks, paddles and life jackets are available at no additional cost at most parks if participants reserve the equipment during registration. Each participating park offers initiation to kayaking in calm waters or initiation to river kayaking.
Participants choose the program they want and select one of the parks offering this course.
Classes start at 9 a.m. on May 21. Registration is open at https://tnstateparks.com/ on the “Things to Do” link. As in-person places are limited, an alternative, free online course is available. However, in-person training with a certified instructor is strongly encouraged.
The full list of participating parks:
• Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
• Chickasaw State Park
• Harpeth River State Park
• Long Hunter State Park
• Fall Creek Falls State Park
• Seven Islands State Bird Park
• Big Ridge State Park
• Harrison Bay State Park
• Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park
• Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park
• Cove Lake State Park
• Warriors Path State Park
“We are fortunate to have Tennesseans who are ACA Certified Paddle Sports Instructors who volunteer to partner with our park rangers to deliver the training as part of National Safe Boating Week,” said Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “This is an opportunity to learn good paddling practices so Tennessee residents can safely enjoy our waterways.”
“Because Tennessee has such amazing destination waterways that are popular with paddlers from across the region, we are also in the unfortunate position of leading the country in 2020 and 2021 in river paddling-related fatalities,” said Andrea White, state director for ACA. “Our ACA Instructors, Paddling Clubs and Schools jumped at the chance to help out our neighbors during National Safe Boating Week.
ACA Tennessee estimates that there are approximately one million people who regularly paddle Tennessee’s waterways who have received no formal training. ACA instructors look forward to helping Kayak 101 course participants better understand the hazards, learn a few tricks to better control their craft, and generally help them have more fun on the water. .
Paddling leaders from the following organizations make the event possible: Bluff City Canoe Club in Memphis; West Tennessee Canoe and Kayak Club in Jackson; Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association in Nashville; Tennessee Valley Canoe Club in Chattanooga; Chota Canoe Club in Knoxville; East Tennessee Whitewater Club in Oak Ridge; Tennessee RiverLine at Knoxville; Appalachian boaters in Johnson City; and Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute in Erwin; as well as independent ACA instructors throughout the state.