Ground Up Adventures, a local nonprofit that promotes outdoor activities for youth, is pushing back the opening date to rent watercraft from the new boathouse on the Red River in Grand Forks.
With their hands full organizing the upcoming Uff Da Mud Run and with unforeseen safety modifications being made to the dock, Andy Magness, board chairman of the nonprofit, said rental canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards should be available to the public Sept. 10.
“We really want to get it open, and we’re so anxious, but we do have to have safe access,” he said. The boathouse, which has been in the works since 2011, was originally slated to open for business mid-June. The project ran into delays when the containers where the watercraft will be stored took longer to build than anticipated.
“We feel so bad because there’s this sense it’s going on and on and on … I’m apologizing to the community,” Magness said.
The nonprofit is planning to offer rentals at half price the first few days the boathouse is open to encourage residents to take part.
“Fall evenings are a great time to paddle,” Magness said.
Paddlers will be allowed to go as far downstream as the dam, a couple miles from the boathouse.
Magness said the boathouse staff will advise inexperienced paddlers not to venture too close to the dam. But he said the dam is not as dangerous as people make it out to be.
“The current of the river is not significant enough that you’re going to get swept over the dam,” he said.
Staff will also recommend that inexperienced paddlers start out going upstream to ensure they do not tire easily. But even for inexperienced paddlers, Magness said, it is not difficult to paddle upstream.
In the event that the current was too strong to paddle against — after a storm, for instance — he said the watercraft would not be available for rent to the general public.
In the interest of safety, staffers will also require paddlers to answer a safety questionnaire correctly before sending them out onto the water.
“Most of (the questions) are common sense,” he said.
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