June 7th, 2017

Contact: Samuel Hakim

(716) 852-7483 ex. 38

Cell: 516-255-7823

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and Partners to Host Nationally Recognized Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Series Event Paddles Up Niagara

Hundreds of Western New Yorkers to make a SPLASH and celebrate clean water and water based activities on July 29th with Paddles Up Niagara 2017 presented nationally by Toyota.

BUFFALO, NY – Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper has been selected as a host for Waterkeeper Alliance’s SPLASH event series, presented nationally by Toyota. In partnership with the Niagara River Greenway Commission, The Town of Grand Island, and New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Paddles Up Niagara pays homage to the world class paddling and public access found in the Niagara River Greenway. Paddles Up will take place on July 29th, 2017 from 7:00 to 2:00PM at the beautiful Beaver Island State Park.

The day-long celebration includes two eco-paddle tours, a vendor fair, and paddle safety demonstrations. The crown jewel of the event will be the 2.5-mile group paddle, which will be followed by a dry-land celebration with local food trucks, a beer tent, and hosts of various activities for the entire family. This event is free and open to the public and guests can register at

Through the leadership of the Niagara River Greenway Commission, Paddles Up Niagara has been a tradition for many area paddlers over the last eleven years. The SPLASH sponsorship will provide increased capacity, including the implementation of online registration for participants and enhanced marketing opportunities with a goal of increasing attendance and impact of the event.

Coinciding with the mission and continued promise of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance to connect people to water, SPLASH Paddles Up Niagara is a true multi-purpose event. This event is to celebrate the advancement of our clean water and highlight how Buffalo and surrounding WNY communities are unequivocally, a water based, waterfront community and thrive on eco-tourism.

Executive director of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Jill Jedlicka said “Paddles Up Niagara offers Western New Yorkers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Niagara River. The collaboration between the Niagara River Greenway Commission, New York State Parks, the Town of Grand Island, and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper shows cooperative energy to restore, protect, and enjoy our Western New York waterways. Paddles Up Niagara connects people to water, promotes environmental stewardship, and fosters community development amongst hundreds of paddle sport and environmental enthusiasts.”

Director of Community Engagement, Chris Murawski said “Paddles Up Niagara is a can’t miss event whether you are an experienced paddler or just a beginner. Not only will you enjoy a relaxing paddle through amazing scenery teeming with wildlife, but you will also have the opportunity to get to know members of WNY’s welcoming paddling community.”

Executive Director of the Niagara River Greenway Commission Jeanne Leccese said “Paddles Up showcases one of the many natural resources located along the Niagara River Greenway, Beaver Island State Park and restored Strawberry and Motor Islands. Niagara River Greenway Commission is committed to increasing and improving access to the Niagara River and adjacent shoreline. For the twelfth year, the Niagara River Greenway Commission invites all Western New Yorkers to come experience the beauty of the Upper Niagara River.”

Recreation Supervisor for the Town of Grand Island Joseph Menter said “Paddles Up Niagara was founded with the purpose of bringing people to the Niagara River to enjoy it. It’s a great collaboration between the Greenway Commission, NYS Parks, Town of Grand Island, and this year the addition of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. For me, the best part about the event is seeing hundreds of paddlers out on the water and having fun.”

Beaver Island State Park Manager Gregory Brown said “Paddles Up is a fun event for the whole family, come out and enjoy the beauty of Beaver Island State Park and the Niagara River.”

Commissioner Emeritus of the Niagara River Greenway Commission and founder of Paddles Up, Paul Leuchner said “When I launched Paddles Up in 2006 my goal was to bring people together to celebrate the culture, history and scenic qualities of the mighty Niagara River. Since that time thousands of paddlers have come to know and appreciate the attributes of this world class natural resource.  Paddles Up is a well-established family friendly event that annually draws hundreds of people to the Niagara River Greenway and keeps growing every year. It has spawned a strong sense of environmental stewardship amongst the general public and has even served as a catalyst for ecotourism.”

“Engaging people with their local waterways is a crucial part of securing drinkable, fishable, swimmable, water,” said Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance.

Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Paddles Up to benefit Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, will take place at Beaver Island State Park, Grand Island NY. For more information on the SPLASH Event Series, presented nationally by Toyota, please visit To register, please visit

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring our most valuable natural asset. For over twenty-five years, we’ve tackled some of the region’s biggest fresh water challenges such as cleaning up toxic sediment, eliminating sewage overflows, restoring critical habitat, and advocating for the long-term health of the Great Lakes. Our actions protect drinking water, connect people to waterways and contribute to a thriving water-based economy. For more information about Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, please visit or contact Samuel Hakim, Communications Coordinator, at (716) 852-7483 ext. 38 or