Paddle the Raritan River on guided trips this spring

This spring, enjoy the beauty of the Raritan River’s upper reaches on a series of guided kayak and canoe paddles sponsored by Raritan Headwaters and the Appalachian Mountain Club.

The “Raritan River Sojourn” trips will be held on four weekend days – Saturday, April 8; Sunday, April 23; Saturday, May 13; and Sunday, May 21 – from different starting points along the river’s North and South branches.

“The Raritan River is the longest river completely within New Jersey, and paddling it is a great way to get to know the region’s incredible scenery and wildlife,” said Lauren Theis, director of education for Raritan Headwaters. “We had a fantastic time on last year’s Sojourns, and we’re looking forward to introducing more paddlers to the river this year.”

Paddlers must bring their own boats, but Theis noted that discounted kayak rentals can be arranged through Eastern Mountain Sports in Bridgewater. Each all-day trip includes a break for lunch; paddlers must bring their own food and water.

Saturday, April 8, 11 a.m.: The first trip will be seven miles down the North Branch, from Burnt Mills Road in Bedminster to the confluence of the South Branch in Branchburg.

Sunday, April 23, 10:30 a.m.: The second trip will follow the Black River – a North Branch tributary – through the Black River Wildlife Management Area in Chester Township, a distance of five to six miles.

Saturday, May 13, 11 a.m.: The third trip, approximately 10 miles, will follow the South Branch from Clinton to Darts Mills in Readington Township.

Sunday, May 21, 11 a.m.: The final trip in the Sojourn series will follow the South Branch from Three Bridges to Branchburg, a distance of about 10 miles.

Advance registration is required, and a suggested donation of $20 per person will be collected at the start of each paddle.  To find out details of each trip and sign up, go to the information page atwww.raritanheadwaters.org/raritanriversojourn  or contact Theis at ltheis@raritanheadwaters.org or 908-234-1852 ext. 314.

Basic paddling skills are required for all trips. Participants must know how to steer, turn a boat and paddle in a straight line. Personal floatation devices must be worn at all times.  Trips will be cancelled or postponed for heavy rain, high waters or likelihood of thunderstorms – but not light rain.

About Raritan Headwaters

The largest watershed organization in New Jersey, Raritan Headwaters has been working since 1959 to protect, preserve and improve water quality and other natural resources of the Raritan River headwaters region through efforts in science, education, advocacy, land preservation and stewardship. RHA’s 470-square-mile region provides clean drinking water to 400,000 residents of 38 municipalities in Somerset, Hunterdon and Morris counties and beyond to some 1.5 million homes and businesses in New Jersey’s densely populated urban areas.

Raritan Headwaters won the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in 2015 and 2016 in the category of Water Resources.

To learn more about Raritan Headwaters and its programs, please visit www.raritanheadwaters.org or call 908-234-1852.