Saluda River Rally features fun, floating

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The 4th Annual Saluda River Rally will take place this weekend, June 1- 2 with kayaking, tubing, fishing, ballooning, camping, bluegrass music and a 9-hole disc golf course all on the Saluda River.

Participants who do not have their own boats are invited to use kayaks provided by Grady’s Great Outdoors or tubes provided by Saluda River Rafting. Reservations for boats and/or tubes for Saturday’s revolving paddle trips can be made by contacting Anderson County Parks. Participants without reservations will be “first come, first served”.

After checking in at the Dolly Cooper Sports Complex in Powdersville, weekend adventurers will be shuttled to the SC Kayak Fishing Club’s private launch in Pickens County, where they will begin a relaxing 1 – 2 hour paddle/tubing trip to the Dolly Cooper Sports Complex.

The annual event, hosted by Anderson County and sponsored by Grady’s Great Outdoors, will also include other outdoor activities provided by Go Play Outside Disc Golf, Saluda River Archery, Black Sheep RC Club, Breazeale’s Grocery Bluegrass, Chatuga Ridge Bluegrass and Skyscapes of America Tethered Hot Air Balloon Rides.

“District 6 is proud to invite everyone to the 4th Annual Saluda River Rally,” said Anderson County Councilman Ken Waters. “The Annual Rally continues to grow, while raising awareness of the many ADA recreational and watersports opportunities on the Saluda River. The County has an incredible vision for the Saluda River, with the completion of Dolly Cooper Sports Complex’s ADA floating kayak launch facility as the first of many steps to enhance the Upstate Blue Trail. I want to personally invite everyone to come out to District 6 and take advantage of this ‘free’ family-friendly event.”

Anderson County Parks Manager Matt Schell said “In 2012, Anderson County completed the first ADA Floating Kayak Launch in the State. It is even more exciting that we are back in 2013 to mark the grand opening of the first ‘fully functioning’ ADA accessible floating kayak launch facility in the State of South Carolina.”

Funding and technical assistance were made possible to jumpstart the corridor project by the Anderson County Legislative Delegation and SC DNR, Schell said. The dock was designed by PLaCE Studios and constructed by locally owned Anders Inc.

Sharon Nicometo, one of the organizers with the County Parks Department stated, “We have been contacted by paddling enthusiasts from SC, NC, GA, TN, and MD. We even have two Clemson University international students from Nairobi Kenya pre-registered for the event. There is something for everyone this year. We encourage everyone to come out and join us for a colorful and exciting weekend on the river.”

Saturday’s festivities will take place from 9 am until 5 pm and will feature a 2.6-mile revolving paddle trip from the SC Kayak Fishing Club’s private access in Pickens County. Rally-goers will enjoy bluegrass music, local outdoor/recreation-based businesses, shuttle service, and food vendors.

Sunday’s event will begin at 1 pm at the Dolly Cooper Sports Complex and will feature a single 9-mile paddle from Powdersville to the Saluda River Grill in the Town of Piedmont, with shuttle service back to Powdersville. Rally Wrap-up will begin at 4 pm and will take place at the Saluda River Grill, complete with BBQ and bluegrass.

The event is free for the public to participate. Donations will be accepted to benefit Anderson County’s own Special Olympics Athletes, organizers said.

A limited number of “primitive” campsites will be available at the park on Friday and Saturday nights. Campsites will be located on the ball fields with no paved access to the sites. Campers will need to travel off-road with their car, truck or van to access campsites. Anyone planning to camp must pre-register for a camp site.

Registration form and guidelines can be found on Anderson County Parks Department website at www.andersoncountysc.org/PARKS.

For more information, visit the Saluda River Rally Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saluda-River-Rally/103742326429064?ref=hl, or email Matt Schell (mschell@andersoncountysc.org) or Sharon Nicometo (snicometo@andersoncountysc.org) or call 864.231.PARK.