Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
Ph: 800-663-1273
Email: lhcvbnwct@aol.com
For Immediate Release

Some like the challenge of rapids. Some prefer the calm of a placid pond. Whatever the wish, there's water, water everywhere for canoers, kayakers and tubers in the beautiful Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut. Rippling rivers and dozens of ponds in more than 30 state parks and forests provide something for every taste in this unspoiled Northwest corner of the state.

Both experienced paddlers and those who want to learn will enjoy the fifth annual Paddle Days at Lynn Deming Town Park in New Milford May 11 to 13. The day will include instructional seminars and the chance to test paddles and a variety of canoes or kayaks on Candlewood Lake. The ten-dollar admission, with proceeds going to local environmental groups, will also include entertainment and a barbecue, courtesy of The Cookhouse Restaurant.

The event is sponsored by The Trading Post (www.tp-kayaks.com.), one of two outfitters based on the Housatonic River. The shop stocks a full range of canoes, kayaks and equipment and will provide personalized lessons for beginners and intermediates, guided tours and a large rental fleet of watercraft.

Besides kayak instruction Clarke Outdoors in West Cornwall (www.clarkoutdoors.com.) offers guided rafting trips on the Housatonic. In April and May, when rivers are swollen with melting snow and spring rains, the more adventurous can tackle Bulls Bridge Gorge, an eight-mile run through surging rapids on the challenging Class IV-V section of the river. Skilled guides expertly maneuver through such rapids as the Flume, S-Turn and Pencil Sharpener. A more placid stretch on this river is a mixture of moving flatwater and easy whitewater, suitable for all abilities. At the Covered Bridge in West Cornwall, paddlers can stop for lunch in town or a picnic in a scenic spot along the river. The shop also rents canoes, kayaks, and tubes.

Paddling Places

The Litchfield Hills area abounds with prize waters for paddlers. From Memorial Day on, canoes and kayaks will be for rent at prime spots in two scenic state parks, the 88-acre lake in Burr Pond State Park in Torrington and at Lake Waramaug State Park in New Preston. Another favorite paddling place is the Collis P. Huntington State Park in Redding, where five ponds present ample opportunities for canoers. The Bantam River inlet flowing through marshland owned by the White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield offers a paddle in the company of osprey, swans, ducks, and marsh birds.

The West Branch of the Farmington River in the American Legion State Forest in Barkhamsted, designated a Wild and Scenic River by the National Park Service, is the center point of river-based recreation including canoeing, kayaking and tubing. Those who want to sample the increasingly popular sport of tubing will find rentals at Farmington River Tubing in New Hartford from Memorial Day through mid-September. Trips in specially designed inner tubes cover a two-and-a-half mile course on the Farmington.

Another outfitter on the Farmington River for 30 plus years is Main Stream Canoes and Kayaks in New Hartford, (www.mainstreamcanoe.com. ). They offer a scenic 12-mile paddle on the Farmington River starting in Riverton with a paddle back to New Hartford through People's State Forest and American Legion State Forest. Along the way, paddlers will encounter class I and II rapids which are enough to make this trip exciting but not dangerous.

For more information on water-based recreation and to receive a free copy of UNWIND, a 114-page color guide to lodging and dining and other attractions, contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, 800- 663-1273 or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.