CONTACT:
Kelle Loughlin: 603-778-0015
June 9, 2009    

Great Bay Discovery Center Offers Kayak Tours of Great Bay

GREENLAND, N.H. -- Looking for a summer kayak adventure?  Join staff of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve for kayak tours in the Great Bay Estuary, where you can watch osprey diving for fish, herons gracefully glide overhead and learn what makes the Great Bay Estuary one of the most amazing and diverse places on earth!

The 3-4 hour tours take place in the tidal waters of Great Bay.  Most trips begin and end at the Great Bay Discovery Center in Greenland, N.H.  All safety equipment, kayaks and basic instruction are provided.  Participants learn proper entry and exit of the kayak, basic paddling techniques and how to safely and easily do a "wet exit" (on dry land, of course).

No experience is necessary, however, be aware that kayaking is moderate to vigorous activity, and you will spend approximately 2.5 hours on the water. The remainder of your time will be spent receiving instruction and helping guides carry the kayaks to and from the waterfront. 

You must be at least 16 years of age to participate.  You may sign up for one trip at a time and put your name on a wait list for another

Costs are as follows:  $15 if you bring your own boat; if you do not bring your own boat, the tours are $25 for Great Bay Stewards members and $35 for non-members.  Checks should be made payable to:  Great Bay Stewards/Kayak Trips, 89 Depot Road, Greenland, NH, 03840.

Cancellation policy:  7 days prior to trip - full refund; less than 7 days - 50% refund; less than 24 hours, no refund.  If trips are cancelled because of bad weather, there is a full refund.

For more information or to register, call Education Coordinator Kelle Loughlin at the Great Bay Discovery Center at (603) 778-0015.

Following is the schedule of 2009 tours:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 1:30 - 5:30 p.m.:  Edge of the Sea -- Native Americans belonging to the great Wabanaki and Algonquian Nations once hunted and fished along the shores of Great Bay.  They were called "the people of the dawn" because they lived near the edge of the ocean, where the sun rose in the east every morning to greet them.  Paddle back in time on a stretch of the southwestern shore of Great Bay and learn about the plants and animals that attracted settlement here over 400 hundred years ago.  Rating: EASY

Friday, July 10, 2009, 2:30 - 6:30 p.m.: Salt Marsh Exploration -- This all-paddling trip begins and ends at the Great Bay Discovery Center.  Paddle along the southwestern edge of Great Bay, past tall stands of spartina grass and over waving beds of eelgrass.  Listen for the calls of salt marsh sparrows, watch ospreys gliding overhead and if we are lucky, catch a glimpse of the majestic
bald eagle.  Paddle under the Squamscott River train trestle and into a hidden creek where we will raft up for a snack and a drink.  Learn about the natural and cultural history of the region while immersing yourself in the unique flora and fauna of the Estuary.  Rating: EASY.

Saturday, July 11, 2009, 3:00-7:00 p.m.: Birding with Steve Mirick - Join well know coastal birder, Steve Mirick as you look and listen for marsh and songbirds or raptors along the southeastern shore of Great Bay.  Bring your own binoculars or use ours.  Steve has been known to find birds when no one else could!  A real treat for hardcore birders!

Saturday, July 25, 2009, 2:00 - 6:00 p.m. Goat Island Geocache Adventure -- Join Reserve staff as we paddle to Goat Island, located in Little Bay.  While there, we will have the task of finding the geocache that is hidden on the island near an historic archaeological site.  This geocache is one in a series that are associated with the "Passport to Great Bay." If you are new to geocaching, it is a popular hide and seek adventure game using a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit.  We will provide a GPS unit for participants to try, but please bring your own if you have one.  You might also enjoy the short hiking trail or relaxing on the beach while on the island.  Participants will receive a Passport to Great Bay booklet to take home.  Trip begins and ends at the Scammel Bridge parking lot in Dover/Madbury.  Rating:  MODERATE DIFFICULTY

Saturday, August 1, 2009, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m:  Go With the Flow -- Great Bay is a dynamic, ever-changing ecosystem full of surprises.  This "self-directed" trip will primarily be a chance to simply enjoy the beauty of the Estuary without a planned tour.  Your guides may point out interesting things along the way, but for the most part they will allow you to take in your paddle in a quieter, contemplative manner.  A hidden creek in the middle of the trip often delights kayakers with glimpses of rare birds, tall swaying grasses and surprises around each bend. Rating:  EASY

Friday, August 7, 2009, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.: "It Begins and Ends Here"; Exploring the mouth of the Great Bay Estuary -- Discover the mouth of the Great Bay Estuary, where fresh waters from the rivers meet the salty waters of the Gulf of Maine.  Explore the islands and back coves around Newcastle and Portsmouth as we examine the plants and animals that are more commonly found in this area.  Tides and currents can present more challenging conditions here, so we recommend some experience to participate.  The trip begins and ends at the Peirce Island boat launch in Portsmouth.  Rating:  MODERATE DIFFICULTY  Special Note:  Additional $5 for launch fee paid to launch attendant.

Friday, August 21, 2009, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.: Sunset Birding -- Enjoy a leisurely paddle from Sandy Point into the mouth of the Squamscott River.  Along the way we will look and listen for signs of a variety of birds that call Great Bay home during the summer.  Birds you may see include osprey, bald eagles, salt marsh sparrows, harriers, swallows and many more.  We will provide identification cards, field guides and binoculars, but you are welcome to bring your own. Rating:   EASY

The Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a cooperative federal-state partnership between the N.H. Fish and Game Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  It was established in 1989 to promote informed management of the Great Bay estuary and estuarine habitats through linked programs of stewardship, public education and scientific understanding.  In addition to kayak tours, the Reserve's Great Bay Discovery Center offers programs for children and adults, including workshops, field trips and kids camps. Come explore exhibits at the center and a boardwalk into the salt marsh. Visit www.greatbay.org.

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NH Fish and Game Dept.
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