CANAAN — Groups of nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts gathered Sunday at Lake George in Canaan to view the foliage at its peak with a morning kayak trip around the lake and an afternoon mountain bike ride.

Beginning at 10 a.m., four kayakers were welcomed on the east side of the park by Alanna Wacome, a Skowhegan native and outdoor recreation coach who led Sunday’s activities.

“This is part of the Main Street Skowhegan Americorps Outdoor Recreation Program,” Wacome said. “Main Street Skowhegan is aimed at improving the community and back in June they hired three Americorps volunteers to get people outside and educated on outdoor recreation activity. We do about three events per week since starting in June and they’re all free, we just want to get people involved and improve their skills at outdoor activities.”

Wacome said the group’s events garner positive feedback and usually see a turnout of five to 12 participants during each activity.

Among the attendees at Sunday morning’s paddle were Skowhegan residents Eric Levine and Rod Lane.

A group of kayakers paddle off onto Lake George to view the foliage on Sunday morning. Morning Sentinel staff photo by Molly Shelly

“I’ve never been out on the lake during foliage so I’m super excited,” Levine said. “We wanted to make sure we were here today not only to see the leaves but because this will probably be our last chance to kayak before the weather gets too cold.”

Levine and Lane hold season passes to Lake George but Sunday was the first time they had attended an event put on by Main Street Skowhegan.

“We’ve never been to an event with the group,” Levine said, “but when we saw it on Facebook we made sure we were here to enjoy the nature out on the lake.”

The afternoon bike ride took bikers through park’s trails, including the new “beginners” mountain bike trail that stretches for more than a mile.

Main Street Skowhegan is a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by a group of residents who wanted to revamp the town’s downtown section. The group expanded its efforts to include the entire town in 2015, and uses the Main Street four-point approach to maintaining and improving the community: Design (heritage and aesthetics), Promotion (building the buzz), Business Enhancement (strong businesses), and Organization (all hands on deck).

Rod Lane prepares to launch his kayak into Lake George on Sunday morning. Morning Sentinel staff photo by Molly Shelly

For Wacome, getting involved in Main Street Skowhegan held a lot of personal meaning.

“After graduating college last year, I saw this opportunity and wanted to take it,” Wacome said. “To be able to come home and bring my skills to my community, where a lot of people don’t have access to the outdoors and I can help people improve their abilities, is special.”

Information about the Main Street Skowhegan Americorps Outdoor Recreation Program including a calendar of events can be found on the Main Street Skowhegan’s website — www.mainstreetskowhegan.org/calendar.


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