Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, in partnership with Friends of the Bill Williams River and Havasu NWF, will host its second annual River Clean-Up Day on Saturday, providing an opportunity for a morning paddle combined with community service.

Refuge staff and volunteers will meet participants at the parking area at Castle Rock Bay near Crystal Beach between 7:15 and 7:45 a.m. After a brief safety overview, the event will begin at 8 a.m. and run until noon.

Those who can bring their own canoe or kayak are encouraged to do so, though local outfitters Jerkwater Canoe Company and Wacko are also loaning paddle crafts on site at no cost.

Event organizers will hand out garbage bags, and the group will travel south from Castle Rock Bay for a cleanup at Mesquite Bay North. The refuge is providing a chase boat to collect filled garbage bags as well as a shuttle to return participants to their vehicles at Castle Rock Bay.

The Friends of the Bill Williams River and Havasu National Wildlife Refuges, a non-profit group of volunteers who support the refuge, will provide refreshments at the conclusion of the paddle (donations accepted).

Saturday’s event is being held in conjunction with hundreds of activities across the country as part of National Public Lands Day, which celebrates service and recreation through the largest cleanup effort of its kind.

“Our initial year was very successful,” said Al Murray, park ranger at Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. “We had a huge turnout. … In addition to supporting National Public Lands Day, my whole objective with this particular event is to get people connected to the Refuge. If you go in a kayak or canoe, it is very beautiful and you see a lot of wildlife that you don’t see in a speedboat. I’m trying to connect people to the river and the lake in a little different way.”

Murray was also gratified that a few of last year’s participants were new to kayaking and enjoyed the experience so much they purchased their own kayaks.

“It was a neat thing,” he added. “We had moms and dads out there with the kids for the first time on a canoe or a kayak, and they had a blast.”

For more information, call Park Ranger Al Murray at 928-667-4144 ext. 28.

Directions to the event: Near Lake Havasu City airport, turn onto London Bridge Rd from S.R 95. Turn right onto Fathom Dr. As you enter the community at Crystal Beach, take a left on Reef Blvd. and then a right hand turn onto Vista Dr. After a quarter mile, take a left onto Castle Rock Rd.

You may contact the reporter at kburgess@havasunews.com.

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