Boat after boat launched into the water at Yanney Park in Kearney on a Thursday evening.
More than 60 people hopped in kayaks at the Kearney Whitewater Association’s third float event, many of them new to the activity.
“This was an opportunity to get out and try it again and not have to own a kayak, but have a resource to borrow and be with a group of people that know what they’re doing,” says Sarah Focke of Kearney, who first tried kayaking at the community olympics two years ago.
KWA members are familiar with the canal tailrace and where it becomes Turkey Creek as they’ve been fixing it up. KWA member Bruce Karnatz says they’ve been working with public and private partners to get a whitewater park by Yanney and a water trail downstream established.
“Right now there’s about 2.5 miles that’s cleaned out, runs right through the southern part of Kearney here and there’s a lot more potential,” he says.
Sharing that vision is one part of these public floats, but Karnatz says they’re inviting new kayakers and veterans new to the waterway along for the fun and experience too.
“I think some people are amazed at how many people have shown up and how fun it is to meet new people and have a conversation with them as you’re going down, and just experience it with other people instead of by yourself,” says Karnatz.
Kayakers say it’s something just about everyone can take part in.
“Youngsters as young as 18 months ride along with their parents and we’ve had people in their 70s, both genders, people of all abilities; kayaking is even something that people with disabilities can do too,” says Karnatz.
KWA is planning another float on July 31. Click HERE to visit their Facebook page and learn more.