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RiverPalooza: Shenandoah Birdwatching

May 27 @ 9:00 AM 3:00 PM

(Backup Date: Friday, June 24)

Please note this event will be held rain or shine as long as the river conditions permit safe paddling.

Join your Shenandoah Riverkeeper for a gentle and beautiful float down the Shenandoah River. We will put in at the Andy Guest Shenandoah River State Park and float down to the Karo Landing.

riverkeeper boat by sharon fisher
Riverkeeper Boat Photo Credit: Sharon Fisher

We are fortunate to have avid birders, Heather McSharry and Mark Abdy, help lead us on the trip.  They are the Washington County Coordinators for the Maryland Ornithological Society’s Breeding Bird Atlas 3 Project, and regularly organize and participate in Washington County Bird Club activities. Prior to retirement, Heather was a Wildlife Biologist who worked on endangered species and ecosystem restoration for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Mark is a veterinarian who works for the US Food and Drug Administration. He has used his vacation time to organize and lead annual safaris to Africa for 21 years and bird-watching trips to Costa Rica and Panama. 

Bald Eagle

Mark and Heather will help us identify the songbirds, waterfowl, and any of our other feathery friends we see along the way. Last year we identified 43 species of birds, including Great Blue and Green Herons, Wood Duck with ducklings, and Bald Eagles. As a bonus, we get to glide past a large Great Blue Heron rookery.  Space is definitely limited so don’t kick yourself for waiting until the last minute because doing so will result in heartache. It’s always good to bring binoculars along on any of our trips, but especially so on this one!!  We will also have a dozen walkie-talkies to distribute to participants to share so you can stay clued in on what Mark and Heather are seeing and hearing, but if you have a walkie-talkie, please be sure and bring that along as well.

Are you interested in paddling our waterways WHILE raising much needed funds for clean water? You’re in luck! This year is the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, a momentous legislation that gives PRKN the power to force polluters in the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers to clean up their messes. And we’re asking you to help us catalyze our past successes into a cleaner, more just future by creating your very own clean water campaign!

This year you can put your paddle trip miles to good use by hosting your own paddlethon. Track your miles paddled and ask your friends and family to pledge X amount per mile. Become our top fundraiser and you can win:

  • A brand-new kayak
  • Recruit a buddy to form your own team (or increase your team’s impact if you already have one) and win a trip on the Sea Dog – PRKN’s 42’ Research Boat (limit to 10 people) 

Get Started Today!


River: South Fork Shenandoah River
Lead Riverkeeper: Mark Frondorf – (571) 969-0746 or mark@shenandoahriverkeeper.org

Outfitter and Arrival Location:
Front Royal Outdoors
8567 Stonewall Jackson Hwy
Front Royal, VA 22630

Arrival & Check-in Time: 9:00am
Anticipated Take-out time: 3:00 pm
Paddle Level: Beginner
Paddle Distance: 5 miles
Boat Options and Costs:

  • Canoe: $75 per canoe for up to two adults
  • Kayak: $60 for one person
  • Tandem Kayak: $75 for two people
  • BYOB (Bring your Own Boat): $35 per boat for the shuttle

Included with each registration:

  • rental canoe or kayak (except BYOB)
  • Paddle insurance
  • Personal flotation device for the day (with rental)
  • Interpretive guide
  • PRKN Clean Water Act 50th anniversary commemorative t-shirt
  • one-year PRKN membership to support the Shenandoah Riverkeeper and clean water

Participant Limit: 20 People

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

How to sign up

Two waivers must be signed online (in advance) for you to be registered for this trip.

1. ACA waiver:

2. Outfitter waiver: Participant Rental waiver

Also to do in advance:

What to Bring

  • Packed lunch
  • Wear proper footwear. NO FLIP-FLOPS. Old gym shoes, sandals with a strap, and water shoes work great
  • Sunscreen, hat, and rain gear
  • Snacks and drinking water (no glass bottles)
  • Change of clothes
  • Dry Bag or Waterproof Container (if you bring a phone or a non-waterproof camera, you need a way to protect it)
  • Binoculars, scopes, field manuals (larger gear can be stored safely in SRK raft)
  • If you plan to fish, bring a valid fishing license for the waters you would be fishing.

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