The Adirondack Challenge boat races will be July 21 in Indian Lake, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday in a radio interview.
Radio journalist Susan Arbetter asked Cuomo about the event during her "Capitol Pressroom" show on WCNY. The interview took place while Adirondack Day was taking place in the Legislative Office Building in Albany. Adirondack Day featured organizations and vendors from the Adirondacks, and promoted the Park's ecological importance as well as economic significance as a tourist destination.
The Adirondack Challenge will be a day-long festival with food, music and two water races. One race will be an invitational whitewater event, and the other is being billed as an international flatwater paddling competition.
The Adirondack Challenge in Indian Lake will feature an international flatwater paddling competition. Here, paddlers from Hamilton College compete in a four-person canoe during the 2011 Adirondack Canoe Classic.
(Enterprise file photo — Mike Lynch)
"It's another attempt by us to bring attention to a beautiful spot and generate some press coverage of a great spot in New York and bring attention to it from a tourism point of view," Cuomo said. "We're inviting everyone, and we're going to have water races and food and music, and it's just going to be a lot of fun. So we'll talk about it more as we get closer, but you mark it on your calendar now, Susan."
Indian Lake makes sense as a location for the dual event because whitewater rafting companies launch their guided trips on the Indian River below Lake Abanakee Dam. The trips travel 3 miles on the Indian before meeting up with the confluence of the Hudson River, which they take through the Hudson River Gorge to North Creek. Most trips on the two rivers are 17 miles long, but it is doubtful the race would be that long. There are take-outs available that could make the trip much shorter.
Cuomo introduced the idea of the Adirondack Challenge during his State of the State address in January and hinted at starting a new Adirondack event when he paid a surprise visit to the Enterprise on Dec. 28. He said the whitewater teams would be made up of government officials.
"I'm getting ready for it," he joked Monday. "I'm getting ready for it."
There are several lakes in the Indian Lake region. The one that makes the most sense for a serious flatwater paddling race is Indian Lake, a 14-mile long water body that is 1-mile wide.
It appears the Adirondack Watershed Alliance will manage the flatwater event, and the Hudson River Professional Outfitters Association will manage the whitewater. Both will work in conjunction with the Adirondack Challenge Steering Committee. Marketing and promotion will be done by I Love New York.
The Hudson River Professional Outfitters Association president is Bob Rafferty, owner of Adirondac Rafting Company in Indian Lake. The association consists of rafting companies that run trips on the Indian and Hudson rivers.
The Adirondack Watershed Alliance is a paddlesports club headed by Paul Smiths resident Brian McDonnell and his wife Grace, who own Mac's Canoe Livery in Lake Clear. Brian McDonnell also runs the Paul Smith's College VIC. Through AWA, the McDonnells run and organize flatwater canoe and kayak races in the Adirondacks, including the Round the Mountain Canoe Race in Saranac Lake, 90-mile Adirondack Canoe Classic race from Old Forge to Saranac Lake and the Long Lake Long Boat Regatta.
Because the flatwater race is being billed as an international competition it would likely include professional and amateur paddlers. Professional races, such as the ones during this Saturday and Sunday during the Canton Canoe Weekend, include prize money for winners.
Canoe and kayak races are broken down into classes, allowing a variety of boats to enter. Boats usually range from solo and tandem canoes and kayaks to four-person canoes, which have been growing in popularity in recent years in events such as the 90-Miler and Long Lake Long Boat Regatta.
Local organizers have not been allowed to talk to the media but have said an official announcement with full details should be made in the near future. Some expected it to be made Monday at Adirondack Day.
I Love New York said more information will be available soon on its website: iloveny.com/Summer/Themes/ADK-Challenge.aspx.