Saturday's Roe Jan Canoe Race Now to Begin at Bingham Mills

The Roe Jan Canoe Race, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, scheduled for this Saturday, April 28, 2018, will now begin at Bingham Mills in Livingston and paddlers will race through seven miles of fast water to the finish line at the Roe Jan Creek Boat Club. 

Competitors wishing to paddle the full 14-mile course from Elizaville Falls for tradition’s sake, may embark on that untimed adventure at their own risk but should be aware of multiple blockages in that section of the creek. Due mainly to cold temperatures this spring and other obligations among race organizers, the Elizaville Falls to Buckwheat section still contains many downed trees that will require advanced skills to safely maneuver around.

The committee that organizes the race could use more help on that front, so anyone wishing to lend a hand on the clearing crew for 2019 should email

Timed competitors should now start anytime between 10:30 and 11 Saturday morning below the waterfalls of Bingham Mills (be sure to approach Bingham Mills Road from the Livingston side—there is still a closed bridge blocking road access from the Clermont side). Parking is very tight and all competitors should arrange a drop-off at the start or take advantage of a shuttle service that will ferry boats and passengers from the Roe Jan Creek Boat Club to the race’s starting point—beginning at 10 a.m.

The seven miles between Bingham Mills and the finish at the mouth of the stream, where an open-house potluck will take place, are now clear of full creek blockages—with a ‘Northwest Passage” along an offshoot of the creek that will take paddlers past a jam a bit upstream from Dale’s Bridge. Paddlers should look for the arrow-right sign in that area and follow it. 

The water is high and more rain is in the forecast leading up to the race. Organizers wish to stress that the race will be a lot of fun this year but also that only paddlers comfortable with Class II/bordering on Class III rapids take part in this event. Life preservers are required and helmets are recommended. Paddlers should come prepared to be warm in cold, wet weather. Bring plenty of wool and fleece; cotton is known to increase the chances of hypothermia. Every boat must have at least one racer above age 18.

The 2018 Roe Jan Canoe Race is sponsored by G-Tel Teleconnections, with additional support from Brittany DuFresne, Columbia Tree Care and the Columbia County Deputy Sheriff’s Benevolent Association.

The race has been organized since 2015 by members of the Roe Jan Creek Boat Club, but it has, in different incarnations, been a local tradition dating back to the 1960s.

Kayakers are welcome. All racers are heavily encouraged to seek sponsors to make donations of any amount for each stream-mile the competitors will paddle—or any amount the sponsors are willing to donate. Checks should be made out to the American Cancer Society. From 2015 to 2017, the canoe races raised a combined $9,705 for the ACS. For non-sponsored racers, there is a suggested donation of $25 at the start.

Sponsor sheets may be picked up outside the boat club on Station Road in Linlithgo or can be printed from the Roe Jan Creek Boat Club’s Facebook page. Questions can be directed to Jen Crawford at Competitors should RSVP by sending an email with names, phone numbers and email addresses of racers.

As of Wednesday, outfitter Hudson Paddles still had a few kayaks available to rent for the race for $40—a portion of which will be donated to the cause. Those wishing to rent a kayak should contact TJ at

Anyone is welcome to come to the open house at the Roe Jan Creek Boat Club on the day of the race. Non-racers are encouraged to bring a covered dish. Eating is planned for 1 p.m.