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River Tours Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate on a tour?
Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  • Kayak Tour – All participants for a kayak tour must be 12-years-old or older. Participants under the age of 16 must ride in a tandem kayak with a parent or guardian over the age of 18. Participants must be in adequate physical health to include (but not limited to) carrying a kayak with assistance, bending and crouching to enter the kayak, balancing oneself in a kayak, and being able to paddle at a leisurely pace for 2 hours.
  • Snowshoe/Hiking/Biking Tours– Participants of all ages are welcome. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

What skill level do I need before going on a tour?
None!  Our tours are a great way for beginners to get accustomed to outdoor recreational activities.  We offer a skills and safety training before kayak tours, as well as guidance while on the water.

What should I wear or bring to a tour?
Please wear comfortable and appropriate clothing for the weather and outdoor recreation. Tours will still occur in light rain or snow, so be sure to have clothing that can match the conditions. Please bring ample water, as dehydration is a serious risk during any season.

  • Kayak Tour – Clothing materials that dry easily are preferred as you will get some drips and splashes from your paddle strokes.  Footwear should be either water shoes, water boots, or sneakers/sandals you do not mind getting wet.  NO FLIP FLOPS.
  • Snowshoe/Hiking Tours – Please wear appropriate footwear based on the weather and activity (Snow boots, hiking boots, sneakers).
  • Biking Tours – Please wear appropriate footwear (NO FLIP FLOPS). Helmets are required to be worn by all participants and are not provided by Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. High visibility clothing is recommended, but not required. Reflective safety vests will be available if desired. Staff will have basic bike/tire repair equipment available for emergency use.

Can I bring my pet on a tour?
Pets are not permitted on kayak tours. Certified service animals are permitted on other tours.

What should I do before a tour?
Make sure to check your email the day before the tour. We will contact you to remind you of your tour and provide important information about the site, directions, and other important information. The initial email has your confirmation and information about the tour site, but not all the sites match perfectly with the address provided. Plugging the address into your GPS will get you close, but there may be instances where it does not match up perfectly. Listen to us and you’ll be golden!

Also, fill out your waiver prior to the tour!  That will help us start the tour quicker. Be sure everyone in your party fills one out and make sure everyone brings it with them to the tour.

Kayak Tour Waiver FormSnowshoe/Hiking Waiver FormBike Tour Waiver Form

What should I expect when I arrive?
You will be greeted by our wonderful staff that will check you in and process your waiver form.

  • Kayak Tour – You’ll then be fitted with a PFD, paddle, and assigned a kayak.  We will help you adjusted your foot pedals on land so you don’t need to fuss with them while on the water. Once the full group has arrived, we will circle up and go do a brief introduction, safety training, as well as paddle stroke demonstrations to help you before you get on the water. Then, we bring our kayaks to the launch site and get everyone in. We’re finally on the water!
  • Snowshoe Tour – If renting a pair of our snowshoes, you’ll then be assigned your pair. We are there to help adjust foot straps if needed!

What should I expect during the tour?
Your tour leader will set the pace as they lead the group to cool places along the waterway. We’ll stop occasionally along the tour to talk about the theme for the tour and our surroundings. Some tours may also feature guest speakers for additional information. Please bring questions and we will do our best to answer them!

  • Kayak Tour –  The safety paddler will stay in the back to keep an eye on everyone.  An intern will be floating in the middle to assist further.  All staff and interns will be available to help you with any questions you have and to assist with paddling skills. The tour will begin to head back at a reasonable time so that everyone is able to exit the water and bring the boats to shore by the ending time.

What should I expect after the tour?
An exhilarating rush of love for our waterways and exercise!  (We hope.)  We asked that everyone help us bring their rented equipment (kayaks and snowshoes) near our van (with assistance) and return any other equipment (paddles and PFDs).  After that, the night is still young, so feel free to go where the night takes you (local restaurant, event or venue, sleep, etc.).

This FAQ hasn’t answered a question I have!  What do I do now?
Contact Wendy Paterson, at wpaterson@bnwaterkeeper.org or 716-852-7483 ext 26.