RiverPalooza: American Indian Cultural Interpretation Paddle

RiverPalooza American Indian Paddle 1

June 5, 2021​ | 10:30AM-2:30 PM


RiverPalooza American Indian Paddle 2This amazing trip is a partnership between Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks and the tribal chair, Francis Gray, of the Piscataway Conoy Tribal Council. We are truly honored to provide a pre-paddle cultural history presentation, then guide and provide interpretation of cultural resources along our circular paddle starting at Atlantic Kayak Company. Atlantic Kayak owners Joe and Shellie Perrie, have a passion for culture and history, and will also provide interpretive and ecological education for our program.

Mattawoman Creek is the ancestral home of the Piscataway tribe, despite being pushed from their homelands, many of the tribal members still live in the Southern Maryland area. The name of Mattawoman creek comes from the Algonquin term Mataughquamend, which translates to “where one goes pleasantly” or the more contemporary version, “a place to go quietly”. To no surprise, this term describes the Mattawoman creek perfectly.

RiverPalooza American Indian Paddle 3This section of the Potomac is connected to national trail routes, including the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. State and federal agencies have consistently characterized the Mattawoman watershed as exceptional in terms of its biodiversity and biological productivity. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has noted the creek’s abundant underwater grasses. It is also home to more than 50 species of fish, as well as mussels, wood ducks, and bald eagles. Its extensive wetlands and forest help support one of the healthiest food webs in the Chesapeake Bay.

Following your river excursion, you can spend time at the Mattawoman Creek Education Center, which has numerous aquariums to observe fish and other critters from Mattawoman Creek, close-up and personal! Come support Potomac Riverkeeper and partners to celebrate Mattawoman Creek and emphasize the importance of protecting Native culture and critical tributaries like Mattawoman Creek.

Lead Riverkeeper: Dean Naujoks – (336) 809-6041 or dean@potomacriverkeeper.org

Outfitter and Arrival Location:

Atlantic Kayak
108-A Mattingly Ave,
Indian Head, MD 20640

Arrival Time: 10:30 AM; anticipated take-out time 2:30 PM

Paddle Distance: 3 miles/2.5 hours

Skill Level: Beginner

Boat Options and Costs:

  • Tandem kayak: $85
  • Single kayak: $65 (limited number)
  • BYOB (Bring Your Own Boat): $35 registration and launch fee

Included with each registration:

  • Guides
  • Rental canoe, tandem kayak or kayak, PFD, paddle
  • RiverPalooza 2021 commemorative t-shirt

Participant Limit: 25 People

Note:  Rentals are only available to adults or children 12 years and older who are accompanied by an adult.

What to Bring:

  • Packed lunch, snacks and drinking water (no glass bottles)
  • Wear proper footwear. NO FLIP-FLOPS. Old gym shoes, sandals with a strap, and water shoes work great
  • Sunscreen, hat and rain gear
  • Change of clothes
  • A face mask
  • Dry bag or waterproof container (if you bring a phone or a non-waterproof camera, you need a way to protect it)
  • If you plan to fish, bring a valid fishing license for the waters you would be fishing.
  • Read the Paddle Rules

The following Liability Waivers are required for each participant in your party. Please fill out and submit in advance.


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