One Square Mile of Hope - September 13. 2014
In less that a month, the record breaking One Square Mile of Hope will float onto Fourth Lake in Inlet, New York. Once again event organizers and paddlers are gearing up to reclaim their title in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest canoe & kayak raft on a single body of water. They are doing all of this while raising money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and other various worthy causes.
With over 2,000 boats (representing at least 30 different states) already registered for the 2014 event, it looks like One Square Mile of Hope is well on its way to once again shattering the record.
As the date gets closer and closer, I have decided it is time to commit myself (and those around me) into participating in this fun event for such a worthy cause. Before I registered and convinced my friends and relatives to sign up, I did some research on how this event is executed. I will be honest, I have not participated in One Square Mile of Hope in the past because I didn't truly understand how much logistical planning is put into making this monstrous floating raft assemble with ease. Now that I did some investigating, I am disappointed in myself for having missed this event in the past.
What you need to know about the event
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Adele Burnett and Mitch Lee from the Inlet Information Center, and Connie Perry from Frisky Otter Tours. They are part of the dedicated team that organizes One Square Mile of Hope. They were happy to give me an inside look as to what is happening their third time around to make the event once again flow like a well oiled machine.Here is a quick run down of what you will want to know if you are thinking about participating:
Register In Advance
If you plan on participating in One Square Mile of Hope 2014, it is highly recommended that you register in advance. This will not only save you money, it will also allow you to spend less time waiting in line on event day and more time enjoying all of the festivities. The deadline to register online is Thursday, September 11, 2014. If you cannot register in advance, event day registration will be available. If you plan on registering day of, make sure that you arrive in plenty of time to complete all necessary paperwork before heading out to your assigned launching point.
Registration Add-Ons: T-Shirt & Lunch
If you register before August 30, 2014, your One Square Mile of Hope 2014 event t-shirt will automatically be included with your registration fee. If you register on or after September 1, 2014 shirts are still available but for an additional cost of $10.00 per shirt. The supply of extra shirts is limited and they will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Following the record breaking moment on Fourth Lake, lunch will be served in Arrowhead Park. The meal will consist of ham & turkey sandwiches, a variety of salads, desserts and drinks. Lunch tickets can be pre-purchased onlinefor $8.00. Event day purchases are limited to first-come, first-serve and will cost $10.00. Another perk to pre-purchasing your lunch is that you will be able to pick it up in the express line and save time. Similar to the event itself, the proceeds from lunch will go to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and other great causes. You can pre-purchase lunch tickets online through September 1, 2014.
Lodging & Camping Options
If you are looking to stay in and around Inlet, here are some links to help you find accommodations that suit your needs.
Please note that space is filling up quickly. If you are looking for lodging, make sure to book your accommodations as soon as possible.
Registration packet pickup will begin on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at the Inlet Information Center (adjacent to Arrowhead Park).If you arrive in Inlet prior to event day, it is highly recommended that you avoid the congestion on the 13th and pick up your event packet, sign event waivers and receive your boat launching point in advance. If you arrive in Inlet on event day, there will be two lines to head through: one for packet pickup, and one for event day registration. The schedule for packet pickup is as follows:
- Tuesday, September 9, 2014: 9 am - 6 pm
- Wednesday, September 10. 2014: 9 am - 6 pm
- Thursday, September 11, 2014: 9 am - 8 pm
- Friday, September 12, 2014: 9 am - 10 pm
- Saturday, September 13, 2014: 7am - 10:30 am
Note: You must check in and pick up your packet before you enter the water. In order for the count to be official, all participants must sign their event waiver. To save time you can print the waiver online in advance.
Parking, Launching, Transportation and of course... Bathrooms!
When you pick up your packet from Arrowhead Park, you will be assigned an off-site parking location and boat launching point. There are approximately 12 different launch points set up, each of them staffed with volunteers and porta-johns.
It is recommended that once you receive your packet you travel to your launch point to drop off your boats and gear, and then head to your assigned parking area. Busses will be continuously looping from parking areas to launch points. This free transportation is the recommended way to move around Inlet on event day. If you arrive early and want to check out some of the festivities at Arrowhead Park in the morning, feel free to leave your boat at your launch point and travel in by bus. The bus can return you to your launch point before it is time to get in the water.
Assembling the Raft
Beginning at 10:45 am, the "raft" will begin to enter into the designated area on Fourth Lake. To join up with the raft, you must enter via one of the three designated entry points and receive your boat number sticker. These stickers are the official count required by Guinness Book of World Records in order to make the count official.
At 11:45 am, the raft will form and aerial photos will begin. At noon, paddles will be raised and the official count will be taken. Please note: officials recommend that you do not enter into formation too early, and that youy wait for instructions from the officials for paddles to be raised.
Festivities in Arrowhead Park
After the raft breaks up and you find your feet back on dry land, you should head into the Hamlet of Inlet, where Arrowhead Park will be buzzing with activity. You can either paddle straight over to the Inlet Public Beach or paddle back to your launch point and ride the bus over. Lunch will begin being served at 12:30 pm. Activities, the Health and Wellness Fair, Live Music and more will continue until 4:00 pm.
Still have Questions?
After meeting with Adele, Lee and Connie, I decided to do a dry run of the event. Okay, maybe "dry run" isn't the best term here, but you get my point. Really, I was just looking for a good excuse to get my kayak into the water and I knew it wouldn't hurt to know as much as could before I arrived in Inlet for One Square Mile of Hope.
When I spoke with Lee, he had listed off a variety of access points to choose from.I'm not sure if it was the wonderful smell of the pizza or the sign that read: "50 Beers on Tap," but I'm sure one of these reasons probably influenced why I launched off of Matt's Draft House at the Screamen Eagle.
This launch point is not a "traditional" location in which I would choose to launch a canoe or kayak from, but it worked well.The carry was approximately a 75-foot walk down a gravel walkway to a short staircase that leads you down to the wooden docked shoreline. If you are not comfortable loading into a canoe or kayak from a dock, I would not recommend this launch point. There are, after all, approximately 12 different access points. However, on the day of the event, having volunteers to help you load in and out of your boat will make this and all of the other access points easier.
From the restaurant, I enjoyed a nice paddle out to Fourth Lake and into the area where the raft will assemble on the 13th of September. The water was calm and tranquil and the weather was fantastic. The paddle, if nothing else, did teach me one thing: I am excited to be able to participate in One Square Mile of Hope for the first time!