Celebrate Our Local Wild and Scenic Rivers During Riverfest ~ June 16 & 17

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

While a plethora of events are attached to Riverfest each year, a day’s worth of events scheduled in Bedford and Concord on Father’s Day have much to recommend them: An early-morning paddle along the Concord River, leaving from the Bedford boat landing; a Cardboard Boat Race organized by Muskatequid Arts and the Umbrella Art Center at the Old Manse in the afternoon; and the annual Solstice celebration with its Illuminated Flotilla at North Bridge as the sun sets.


Sunrise Paddle along the Concord River ~ Sunday, June 17 from 4 to 6 pm

Up early on Father’s Day? Bring your canoe or kayak and paddle along the Concord River on Sunday, June 16.

As Bedford’s part of RiverFest 2018, a sunrise/birding canoe/ kayak paddle will leave from the Bedford boat landing, just off Rte 225 in the shadow of the newly-named Hart-Desiato bridge, at 5:15 am on Sunday, June 17.

Join wildlife specialist Ken Harte for a 2 to 3-hour paddle on the Carlisle/Bedford section of the Concord River and the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. A stop at the Riverview restaurant for a hearty breakfast and to compare notes is a scheduled feature of the trip.

Near the end of the trip, there will be an optional stop at the protected Elliott Concord River Preserve.

Bring your canoe/kayak, life jacket (required), binoculars, breakfast money, water, and guidebooks.

Sign in at 5:15 am at the Bedford Boat Landing (Rte. 225). In case of inclement weather or flood conditions, call 978-369-0335 for confirmation. For more details visit www.sudbury-assabet-concord.org.


Cardboard Boat Race at the Old Manse ~ Sunday, June 17 from 4 to 6 pm

Celebrate Riverfest with Musketaquid Arts and Environment and OARS. Take part in the challenge to build and race a cardboard boat in the Concord River! Click here for the Cardboard Boat Challenge Rules.

Race winner categories: first to cross the finish line in a boat; most creative Concord River habitat design; most spectacular sinking. Bring your team, imaginations, and intrepid spirit. Boat-making materials provided. Advance registration required – Click here to register  before noon on Saturday, June 16 – Last-minute registration on Sunday only if supplies allow.



Summer Solstice Celebration at the Old Manse

Celebrate the arrival of summer on the rivers with OARS and Musketaquid at the Old Manse. (269 Monument St.).

Sawyer Lawson will entertain those who wish to picnic on the beautiful grounds of the Old Manse, beginning at 6:30 pm.

Illuminated Flotilla with Voices of the Earth Chorus, beginning at dusk: Paddle from the picnic up the Concord River. Boat rentals available from the South Bridge Boat House (978-369-9438, 486 Main St.). Boat put-in and take-out at Lowell Road launch recommended.

To paddle with a group, contact Bill (508-397-0078, [email protected]) and bring your lanterns!   Join the bonfire with s’mores at the Old Manse around 8 pm.


Other Local Events

Local events will be hosted on and along the rivers highlighting all the things that make these rivers so special. From boat rides to bird watching to talks, art, and kids activities, there is something for everyone, whether young or old, adventuresome or more interested in a scenic stroll along the river banks.

This year’s event will also feature family-friendly fishing, yoga, wildlife experiences and music at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Sudbury on Saturday. There will be five different boating opportunities and the ever-popular closing solstice event at the Old Manse in Concord. Kids may especially enjoy the Billerica fishing derby, Sudbury rubber duck race, or a close look at wildlife with Mass Audubon in Concord. Stay close to home, or travel a short distance, and spend the day enjoying all the rivers have to offer.


About Riverfest

Riverfest is the annual celebration of the federally-designated Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Wild and Scenic River. This year’s celebration highlights the 50th anniversary of the National Wild and Scenic Act, the legislation passed in 1968 that made protection of special rivers possible. Less than 1% of the rivers in the United States are protected as Wild and Scenic. Riverfest is your opportunity to explore why the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord rivers are so unique!

In recognition of their outstanding and remarkable resource value, the U.S. Congress designated 29 miles of the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers as part of the national Wild and Scenic River System in 1999. The River Stewardship Council (RSC) was created to promote the preservation of these river resources. The Council is a partnership of representatives from each of the eight shoreline communities, state and federal agencies, and two regional conservation organizations. All of the events and activities of Riverfest are volunteer-led by partner organizations of the RSC.

For a full listing of events and maps, please visit www.sudbury-assabet-concord.org.  Call 978-223-5049 with any questions.

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