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Explore Mine Kill State Park by Kayak

Written By Editor on 7/29/14 | 7/29/14

Join park staff along with other paddling enthusiasts for a chance to explore beautiful Mine Kill State Park by kayak. American Canoe Association certified kayak instructors will lead several classes on the Blenheim-Gilboa Reservoir located at the park.  Paddlers will have a fantastic opportunity to catch a glimpse of a bald eagle, explore the Mine Kill creek or examine fascinating fossils from the prehistoric Devonian Sea.  Each class is limited to 15 participants or less, so please call Mine Kill State Park at (518) 827-8690 to pre-register for each event.    

Bring your kayak, paddle and PFD on Saturday, August 2nd, 2014, from 10am - 2pm for an ACA endorsed, Quick Start kayak course.  This course is geared toward beginner to intermediate paddlers, and will cover the fundamental kayaking maneuvers as well as safety considerations on the water.  Participants will also get a chance to see advanced paddling skills and recoveries, in addition to an active bald eagle nest located near the reservoir.  A donation of $10 is recommended for this class.  

Then on Saturday, August 16, 2014, from 11am to 1pm, learn the paddling basics with an ACA Smart Start course at Mine Kill State Park.  The Smart Start course is for first-time to beginner paddlers, and is designed to cover the various parts of the kayak, different types of PFD’s and paddles, and other considerations before launching.  Once on the water, paddlers will learn the essential kayak strokes and then have a chance to perfect them.  A donation is recommended for the Smart Start course on 8/16.  

Finish the summer paddling season at Mine Kill State Park with an Introduction to Kayaking course on August 23rd.  Meet at the Blenheim-Gilboa Reservoir boat launch at the park, from 9am to 3pm, to hone your paddling skills.  The Introduction to Kayaking course is suitable for intermediate to advanced-level paddlers, and will feature more in-depth equipment and demonstrations.  Participants will also learn how to conduct a wet exit and then perform deep water recoveries.  Paddling safety, CPR and first aid considerations will also be discussed in the course.  Due to the advanced techniques and curriculum, there is a $20 fee per paddler for the course on 8/23.      

Please note that each paddler will need to provide his/her own PFD (personal flotation device) along with a kayak and paddle.  Many different types of kayaks may be used, including sit-in/sit-on-top, tandem and inflatable. Paddlers will also get a chance to see stunning views from the reservoir, like resident bald eagles, outstanding geology and the scenic Schoharie Valley. 

Please note that the New York Power Authority no longer requires a seasonal permit to launch a vessel on the Blenheim-Gilboa Reservoir.  However, all boaters must check in at the Mine Kill State Park office and then power-wash the boat prior to entering the water.  Please remember to contact the Mine Kill office at (518) 827-8690 to register, as there are a limited number of spots available per course.  

Mine Kill State Park is located in the scenic Schoharie Valley overlooking the Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project.  The reservoir provides excellent fishing and boating opportunities. The eight miles of trails, including trails from the Park to the NYPA Visitor Center such as the Long Path, are great for hiking, biking and birding.  Cascading 80 feet through a narrow gorge is the picturesque Mine Kill Falls for which the Park is named.  The Park also has an Olympic sized swimming pool with separate wading and diving pools.

For those who would like to extend their visit, nearby Max V. Shaul State Park is a small, quiet camping area with 30 wooded tent and trailer sites, picnic grounds, a state of the art playground and boat access along the Schoharie Creek.  In addition to the Max V. Shaul trails and fishing opportunities, campers have free access to Mine Kill State Park. 

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversee 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

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