Lake George, Canaan                                                       

Lake George Regional Park, in Canaan, is a great spot for paddling or for a family day at the lake. The east side of the park has a large boat launch (large in area, not necessarily for large boats) with ample parking. Further along the access road is a fine picnic area and swimming beach with clean rest rooms. The west side of the park has all that plus the swimming area there is roped off and safer for smaller children. The west side is also much noisier because of the day programs the park puts on for the kids. This park (though the entire lake is not included in the park) is a non-profit and asks for a donation at the boat launch. The beach areas are by fee and if you stop on the beach without entering through one of the pay gates you will be asked to pay for use of the beach by a staff member. They do an admirable job of keeping things neat and clean so donít hold back on your donations. Be generous.

Since we were out early in the morning, we chose to paddle in a counter-clockwise direction so as to not have the rising sun in our eyes on this trip. Hugging the shoreline will often keep you in the cool shade and you'll see more wildlife there as well. This is a relatively small lake and you'll easily paddle all the way around it in one session. It was a quiet morning and we didnít see much activity, human or otherwise, until we reached the west end of the lake, where there are two coves. Here we decided to work our boats through the pickerelweed to see what we might find in the coves. As it turned out the stream that feeds the lake opened up not far into a bog and there was a channel about twelve feet wide so the going was easy for a while. Out of the lake the birds began to appear. Kingfishers, osprey, a one-legged mallard on a log and an entire family of wood ducks showed no fear as we paddled by. They had all been amply warned of our arrival by red-winged blackbirds. The channel was lined with wild pink roses and buttonbush, and narrowed as we pushed further into the bog. Weíll be going back another time when the water is higher to see whatís further into the bog. Downed trees prevented a deep penetration in July. This will be a pretty trip in the fall when the trees have turned.

Continuing back along the south shore of the lake will bring you to the West side of the park and just beyond that, the outflow of the lake into a small stream that leads to Oak Pond. Look down here and you'll see schools of fish under your boat. We were unable to explore the stream for a number of reasons. Rocks had partially blocked the concrete culvert passing under route 2, beavers had further plugged the outflow and the ceiling of the concrete culvert carrying the stream seems to be deteriorating and falling in. Perhaps one day weíll see if we can get into Oak Pond and paddle upstream from there.

The launch site is well marked just west of Canaan village, on Route 2. You donít even need water shoes here, as the launch site is nice clean gravel. Unload your boats and move your vehicle to the parking area on the opposite side of the access road.

As always, remember to clean any vegetation off your boats before you leave the area so as not to transport invasive plants to the next body of water you visit. Enjoy your paddling Ė see you on the water


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