Paddle Pedal Festival To Celebrate Mispillion River

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Downtown Milford, Inc. (DMI) and Milford Parks and Recreation is proud to announce an exciting new event for the 2012 season. The First Annual Paddle Pedal Festival will take place on Saturday, October 13th and will feature Milford’s commitment to ecotourism with a 20k bike ride, 10k run and stand up paddle boarding and kayaking activities. In addition, the event will celebrate the opening of the final phase of the Misipillion Riverwalk Project, the Chaney-Wilmont Greenway .

Before the event officially begins paddlers will launch their kayaks or stand up paddle boards at the Mispillion Marina Rt. 1 and 36 Bypass and will arrive at the Chaney-Wilmont Greenway, located between the Vinyard Shipyard and Goat Island on the South side of the Mispillion River, just in time for its official dedication. The $380,000 project, partially funded by the Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund and matched by the City of Milford, features a beautiful, scenic overlook of the Mispillion River with a floating dock for fishing and access to the river and sidewalks and picnic area for recreation and relaxation.

“This festival really celebrates our town slogan ‘Art town, River town, Home town’, and focuses on what an important role the Mispillion River plays in the city of Milford,” commented Marilyn Ambrose, Downtown Milford Inc. Promotions Committee Chairman and organizer of the Paddle Pedal Festival. “We hope that people will take advantage of this new section of the Riverwalk greenway and see its benefits towards living a healthy lifestyle.”

Future plans for the Chaney-Wilmont Greenway include a visitor and nature center off of Marshall Street that will be key to the city’s ecotourism initiative and will promote economic development for the citizens of Milford and Kent and Sussex Counties. The location will be an educational resource for area schools, community and nature groups.

Both the 20k bike ride and 10k run will lead participants along the Mispillion River from the Chaney-Wilmont Greenway to the recently dedicated Lacy E. Nichols Jr. Cedar Creek Boating Access Area in Slaughter Beach east of Milford. The new $3.2 million facility, which offers boaters access to Cedar Creek, Mispillion Harbor and the Delaware Bay, includes eight 16-foot wide concrete launch lanes, five full-floatation boarding docks and one full-floatation courtesy dock connected to a 30-foot timber walkway. Bikers will pedal to the new facility that was dedicated this summer and trek back to the Chaney-Wilmont Greenway while runners will be transported back to the festival by charter buses provided by Jorlin Busing Company.

The route, from Marshall Street down Route 36 to the Cedar Creek boat ramp, is “bucolic,” according to Gary Emory, Director of Milford Parks and Recreation. Gwen Guerke, organizer of the 10k run states that the Delaware Department of Transporta- tion has agreed to close one lane of the course, which has been measured for accuracy and safety.

“It takes participants through some nice country farmland and ends right next to the water at Cedar Creek. It’s flat, rural and scenic,” commented Guerke. “Since the Festival marks the completion of the contiguous Riverwalk, Gary Emory wanted it to be a celebration of healthy lifestyles and also to show people that the Mispillion River is connected to the Delaware Bay.”

Back at the festival grounds, the public will have the opportunity to enjoy a picnic lunch while awards for the 20k bike and 10k run are being presented. Fees are $20 for the walk/run/biking event which includes registration, a T-shirt (if registered by October 1st), and a picnic lunch. Fees on the event day are $25. Fees can be paid by completing the application form and mailing it in, or at http://downtownmilford.org/?page_id=1381. The Paddle Float requires no registration fee.

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