The Ridgefield Big Paddle commemorates the designation of the Lewis River to Vancouver Lake Water Trail each year on National Trails Day.
Event details are still in the works for 2022. Check in here or follow us on Facebook (@BigPaddle) for updates!
The first Big Paddle was June 2nd, 2012. Big Paddle is traditionally held on the first Saturday in June as part of National Trails Day.
The flotilla travels 2.5 miles North on Lake River, past the wildlife refuge, to the Columbia River and back to the Port of Ridgefield launch for a 5 mile round trip. This year, we are challenging you to complete a 5 mile round trip somewhere new along the Water Trail.
The Water Trail was established in 2012 and was the impetus for the first Ridgefield Big Paddle. The unique feature of a water trail is you can float along the trail, and you will not have changed that trail. It’s a sustainable form of use.
The 32 river miles in this water trail include:
There is rich history all along the Lewis River to Vancouver Lake Water Trail. Since time immemorial Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia River have called the land along the Columbia River home. The village of Cathlapotle, located on what is now the Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, was one of the largest on the river. The village was excavated in 1990s, and a replica Plankhouse built on the Refuge as an education and interpretive center. Learn more about the archaeological site. Learn more about the Plankhouse.
The Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership is usually at Big Paddle running the Big Canoe tours and bringing some great science and nature learning opportunities in the Paddlers Village. Due to COVID-19, we are not able to offer canoe paddles in 2021. But, you can still learn from the Estuary Partnership! Their website has a collection of activity videos to learn about science and nature in and around your home. Click here to check it out!
There is so much you can do to help protect our streams, rivers, and lakes!
There are numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing along the Lewis River to Vancouver Lake Trail. The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is situated along Lake River at the Confluence with the Columbia and boasts. Learn more about the Habitat and Wildlife on the Refuge here.
This video, from Alder Creek Kayak, gives a little taste of the wildlife you may see while paddling along the water trail.
Appropriate, low-impact use of the water trail is the responsibility of all who use this natural resource and will ensure the waterways stay beautiful and healthy. Keep the following in mind while you travel:
Haven’t made your way into the world of paddling yet? Or maybe you want to brush up on your skills? Check out the below videos for some quick tips, or visit Paddling.com for even more expert advice!