Winter Paddling Clinic and First Day Float

guy floating current river in kayak
Winter paddling on the Current River.

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News Release Date: December 14, 2017

Contact: Dena Matteson, 573-323-4814

Winter Paddling Clinic and First Day Float

EMINENCE, MO: Ozark National Scenic Riverways and Missouri State Parks will be hosting a Winter Paddling Clinic and First Day Float on December 31 and January 1. The Winter Paddling Clinic will be held at Echo Bluff State Park on December 31 in conjunction with their New Year’s Eve Celebration. On January 1 paddlers will celebrate the New Year with a float on the Current or Jacks Fork Rivers and gather at Current River State Park in the afternoon for a bonfire and warm beverages.  

Millions of floaters enjoy Missouri rivers each year from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Experienced paddlers continue to visit our rivers in September and October, but paddling activity can continue during the winter months with the right equipment and a few simple precautions. Winter paddling offers several advantages, including the opportunity to experience solitude on the river and the ability to more easily view wildlife and other river features often blocked by heavy vegetation during the summer.  

Schedule of Events

Saturday, December 30, 2017

4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Check in at Echo Bluff State Park

8:00 p.m. Welcome Reception hosted by the Missouri American Canoe Association (ACA)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

10:30 a.m.                 “Last Day Float” at Current River State Park

Winter Paddle Clinic at Echo Bluff State Park

12:00 p.m.                 Wilderness First Aid

2:00 p.m.                   Camp Cooking with Marty Koch

3:00 p.m.                   Dry Land Basics for Beginners with Jennifer Hahn

4:00 p.m.                   Keynote Address by Greg Poleski & ACA Open Forum

5:00-6:30                   Dinner

6:30 p.m.                   Winter Equipment and Paddling Adventures by Myles Arbeeny

8:30 p.m.                   Missouri Paddling Clubs Presentations

9:30 pm to Midnight  Echo Bluff New Year’s Eve Celebration

Monday, January 1, 2018

First Day Float: Experienced paddlers are welcome to float any section of the Current or Jacks Fork River that is open. Less experienced paddlers are encouraged to float the Current River between Pulltite and Round Spring. An instructional float will be conducted from Current River State Park to Round Spring, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Space is limited to 20 participants for this free, guided activity. Reservations can be made by contacting Ranger Dave Tobey at (573)323-8093 by December 29. Once the First Day Float is filled to capacity, participants may sign up for the guided Last Day Float to be held on December 31. Instructors for the guided floats are ACA-certified. A First Day Hike will be offered at Echo Bluff State Park at 8:00 a.m. Current River State Park will provide a bonfire complete with warm beverages for paddlers and hikers throughout the day. 

Echo Bluff State Park is located 14 miles north of Eminence on State Highway 19. Current River State Park is located approximately 1 mile north of Echo Bluff State Park.

Clinic Presenters, Topics, and Activities

· Justin Adams is the State Director for Missouri ACA. He is also the Natural Resource Manager for Stockton State Park. 

· Miles Arbeeny is an ACA-certified instructor and store manager for the Alpine Shop in the St. Louis metro area. His presentation will focus on winter paddling gear. 

· Jennifer Hahn is an ACA-certified instructor. She will discuss ACA skill classes, essential kayaking paddle strokes, and basic maneuvers. 

· Kathie Brennan is the President of Ozark Trail Association. Kathie will be on hand to discuss the construction of the Round Spring Section of the Ozark Trail and the unique paddling and hiking opportunities this new trail will offer to visitors. 

·  Mary Koch is a former St. Louis County Park Ranger and a professional photographer specializing in river and nature photography. His work will be on display and he will participate in a panel discussion.

·  Greg Poleski will be delivering the keynote address. Greg was named “Missouri River Hero” by Missouri River Relief in 2016. He is currently working to unite paddling groups in the state.

· Dave Tobey is the District Interpretive Ranger for the Upper Current River section of Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Dave is a certified ACA Kayak Instructor and he will discuss programs and opportunities for paddlers on the Upper Current River.

·  Connie Weber is the Park Naturalist at Echo Bluff State Park and a certified ACA Canoe Instructor. Connie will be hosting the First Day Hike at Echo Bluff State Park.

·  Perry Whitaker is an Experience Manager/Guru at the Alpine Shop. He will provide an abbreviated course in wilderness first aid during the clinic.  

·  Missouri Paddling Clubs include St. Louis Canoe and Kayak Club, Ozark Mountain Paddlers, Missouri Whitewater Association, and Kansas City Canoe Club

Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding natural resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people. For more information, call (573)323-4236 or visit the park's Facebook page, or website at

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Last updated: December 28, 2017

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


(573) 323-4236

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