Paddlers to converge on Big Coal River

By Fred Pace

July 24, 2014

RACINE — Big Coal River at Racine will be alive with people on Satuurday.

“It’s free and we want to show the world what we have done to clean up the Big Coal River”, says event organizer, Teresa Perdue.

The event, on July 26th, was first organized by members of the Big Coal Branch of the Coal River Watershed Group as a way to bring attention to the efforts of the citizen-based groups to clean up and restore the three rivers in the Coal River Watershed.

The 7th annual Keven’s Lazy River Adventure is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the beautiful John Slack Park in Racine and over 250 paddlers are expected to participate.

What could be better, a big family river event that turns into a celebration of the restoration of the Coal rivers or a community of local citizens who invite over 200 guests to their beautiful home on the river and treat everyone like their closest kin?

The members of the Big Coal River Branch of the Coal River Group did everything right and the result was a huge river float that encouraged anyone and everyone to enjoy the cleanup of their beloved Big Coal River,l organizers said.

The annual event is organized by the leaders of the local Big Coal River Branch but the 70 or more volunteers represented branches of many extended families in the local area including Boone County Emergency Services and County Commission staff and officials.

It is truly a community event, but the folks who travel from Barboursville, Charleston, St. Albans, Kanawha City, Huntington and many other areas experience a day on a beautiful, clean and clear rapid flowing river that has undergone a major restoration, brought about by the hard work and efforts of the same people who host the paddle event.

The event was originally organized to honor a young man who everyone in the community loved, Kevin Kinder.

The community wanted to bring people back to the river to help clean it up and Kevin’s lifelong love for the river was an inspiration to all of those early volunteers, according to organizers.

Since its creation, “Kevin’s Lazy River Adventure” has become an annual celebration that shows off the hard work of the local volunteers and how they have made a difference in restoring the river that flows lazily through the ten miles of shallow stretches, lazy curves, and an occasional exciting rock strewn rapid to its terminus at Dartmont Park near Ashford in Boone County.

Last year, over 145 boats were registered and estimated 225 people floated the river.

The group does not charge any fees for entry, but makes a major effort to register participants and provide safety advice which is supported by a large number of EMTs and citizen volunteers along the length of the float trip.

The event terminates in a newly restored county park at Dartmont.

As with any event in Boone County, the volunteers welcome all the paddlers with a huge picnic.

The picnic features the very best of deserts and main courses prepared by some of the finest cooks in the region.

It’s all free and everyone is welcomed as if they were at a family reunion.

Teresa Perdue, along with Mary Browning of the non-profit Coal River Group, work for months putting together the event and they are supported by a host of volunteers who toil through the winter months preparing the food, organizing and seeking out contributions from the many local businesses that make the entire event financially feasible.

“We want to thank the sponsors who make the event possible,” said Perdue. “The sponsors include Coal River Energy, Prayworks, B&M Oil Company, Finish Line Used Auto Sales, Inside Out Creative/owner Amanda Easter and One Stop in Ashford, WV. Cabela’s also exhibits at the event and donates a Kayak, with paddle and life vest to be raffled off in the future to raise funds for river clean-up programs.”

“We want to give special praise to the Swift Water Rescue Team and the Boone County Ambulance Authority, along with the Boone County Recreation Commission and the County Commission for their support,” Perdue added.

(Fred Pace is the Editor for the Coal Valley News. He can be contacted at or at 304-369-1165, or on Twitter @fcpace62)