May 24, 2019

Tour de Kennebec nears start> Participants may paddle or peddle, strut or stroll along 8 legs

SKOWHEGAN — Whether you are into canoeing, biking, bird watching, kayaking or running, the fifth annual Tour de Kennebec, from Jackman to Waterville, has something for you.

Local events have been planned to coincide with National Trails Day on Saturday throughout central Maine.

Divided into eight sections, the first leg of the trip begins at 6 a.m. in Jackman, and the tour ends many hours later in Waterville. Participants can do the entire tour or just one leg of it, organizers said.

The event is sponsored by Kennebec Valley Trails and includes canoeing in the Kennebec or biking or running on Route 201.

A highlight of the day’s tour will be the grand opening of the Bingham-to-Solon Rail Trail. This trail, created through a federal grant, reopens the bridge across the Kennebec River at William Day to year-round use, according to Roger Poulin, one of the events chairmen.

The bridge reopening celebration will begin at noon at the trailhead on Route 201 in Bingham and will end at 12:30 p.m. at Williams Dam in Solon. Registration for this event will be at the Gadabout Gaddis Airport in Bingham.

Other activities are also being planned for the same day to coincide with National Trails Day. Five-mile kayak trips on the Kennebec River will raise money for the Pine Tree Camp for Handicapped Children. Kineo Kayak Guide Service will donate a guide and eight kayaks. The trips will be in three sections between Solon and the Shawmut Dam in Fairfield. Darrell Buzzell, who can be reached at 474-3945, is coordinating the kayaking.

Bird watching walks are also being held on the walking trails behind the L.C. Bates Museum at Good Will Hinckley School in Fairfield. The walks are set for 7 and 10 a.m.

The Central Maine Mountain Bike Association will hold a ride for all ability levels beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Two Cent Bridge in Waterville.

Organizers stress that participants can do one or more sections of the tour. It is not necessary to complete the entire trip.

The various sections of the Tour de Kennebec are:

Jackman to The Forks, 27 miles, starts at 6 a.m., bike.

The Forks to Caratunk, nine miles, starts at 8:15 a.m., canoe.

Caratunk to Bingham, 15 miles, 10:30 a.m., bike.

Bingham to Solon, six miles, noon, bike.

Solon to Skowhegan, 20 miles, 12:45 p.m., bike.

Skowhegan to Hinckley boat launch, six miles, 2:30 p.m., canoe.

Hinckley to L.C. Bates Museum, two miles, 4:15 p.m., run.

Bates Museum to Waterville, 10 miles, 4:45 p.m., bike.

For more information, contact Chip Carpenter at 643-2746 or Roger Poulin at 474-5151.

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