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This July, Bays Mountain Park is bringing back its ever-popular paddling programs with even more dates for guests to enjoy the park’s iconic lake from a new perspective. From beginners to experienced paddlers, there’s a program for everyone!

“With kayak sales increasing, now’s the time for us to provide for paddling programs,” Senior Naturalist Megan Krager said. “There’s also greater opportunity for social distancing on the water.”

Programs include Kayak Lessons, Evening Canoe/Kayak Tours, and lake tours focused on the beavers and waterfowl that live in and around the reservoir. For all programs, attendees must provide their own kayak/canoe, paddle, and TYPE III PFD (personal flotation device). These programs are best suited for children 10 and up, and children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Kayak Lessons
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. | July 17 and Aug. 21
$10 per non-member and $5 per member
This program is designed to help beginners establish a base set of skills, or for intermediate paddlers to gain confidence in their expanding skillset. The lesson will cover parts of a kayak, what to wear and pack, types of PFDs and kayak, as well as basic padding strokes. Registration now open.

Evening Canoe/Kayak Tours
6 to 8 p.m. | July 1 & 15, Aug. 5 & 19, Sept. 2 & 16, Oct. 7 & 21
$10 per non-member, free to members

Come explore the reservoir on this naturalist-led tour! Experience the sights and sounds of the lake in the evening. For public health and safety purposes, each session is limited to 20 boats. Registration now open.

Beaver Ecology
6 to 8 p.m. | July 8 & 22, Aug. 12 & 26
$5 per non-member, free to members
On this naturalist-led paddling tour, learn about beavers, how they live and their effect on other wildlife. Enjoy a guided evening paddle around the reservoir to see beaver lodges, dams and other signs beavers leave behind! Reservations open June 29.

 Waterfowl
8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. | July 9 & 23, Aug. 13 & 27
$5 per non-member, free to members

On this naturalist-led paddling tour, learn about the natural history of the many birds that call Bays Mountain Reservoir home. This guided tour lets attendees experience birding from the comfort of their own canoe or kayak. A quieter boating adventure lets you observe waterfowl closely! Reservations open June 29.

Pre-registration is required for all paddling programs via Eventbrite. Visit Eventbrite.com and search “Bays Mountain Park,” or check out baysmountain.com for direct links. Each program will meet at the dam, and the park advises attendees to be mindful of social distancing will unloading and launching their boats.

Bays Mountain is committed to the health and safety of both guests and park staff. The park is following recommendations and best practices from the CDC, the Sullivan County Regional Health Department and Tennessee Pledge. BMP will continue to monitor any developments on the COVID-19 pandemic and how these might affect operations.

For more information on Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, please visit baysmountain.com or call (423)229-9447.