You know it’s a good paddling location when the largest paddle in the world can be found there.
Built by Mark Teasdale, owner of Columbia Wetlands Outpost, the 60-foot-long, 5,300-pound paddle can be found on his property located south of the town of Golden. It’s a fitting statue for the region where the Columbia River snakes its way between the Purcell and Rocky Mountains, offering some of the most scenic and easiest paddling in the country.
The river flows past the Columbia Wetlands, home to over 350 species of wildlife including “diverse bird species [that] migrate through,” Mark says. “We see blue herons, eagles, ducks, geese, elk, deer, moose, coyotes, wolves, black bears…it is beautiful all year round.” The Columbia can be paddled to Golden from its headwaters near the community of Canal Flats 160 kilometres south, but the most popular section that takes less than 3-4 hrs to complete starts in Nicholson and is a common day-off float among the locals.
Columbia Lake is located in the Rocky Mountains, in the eastern part of the BC, and is the headwaters of the Columbia River. From there it snakes north through the East Kootenay region and past wetlands that are habitat for hundreds of species and migratory birds. Its flow is dependent on freshet and tends to be faster in the Spring months but mostly the area of the river leading up to, and past Golden is slow and calm year round. It’s a stunning setting for a paddle because the waterway is flanked by the Purcell Mountains to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east.
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