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Join ALT Paddling Society to watch balloon launches

Paddlers of canoes and kayaks invited to join the Androscoggin Land Trust for one of the most unique paddling experiences available in New England

The Great Falls Paddling Society, a promotional program of the Androscoggin Land Trust (ALT) begun in 2009, will have its third “meeting” this weekend as part of the 18th Annual Great Falls Balloon Festival.

Intended to be a creative way to better connect the Androscoggin River to this premier New England Festival, kayak and canoe enthusiasts are being invited to get out their boats and meet other paddlers during each hot air balloon launch during the festival.

Beginning with the evening balloon launch on Friday, paddlers will continue to meet during the festival at the Little Andy Park boat access on Second Street in Auburn. Those joining the group will depart by boat one hour before each planned balloon launch: 5 p.m. on August 19; 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. on August 20, and 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. on August 21.

“Taking advantage of Lewiston-Auburn’s spectacular waterfront, which is lined with historic mill buildings and canals, just makes sense during the Great Falls Balloon Festival,” said ALT Executive Director Jonathan LaBonte. “Where else in New England can you paddle along an historic landscape and watch hot air balloons take flight overhead?”

Those paddling will paddle upstream from New Auburn at the confluence with the Little Androscoggin River and towards Lewiston Falls. Meet at the Little Andy Boat Access in New Auburn, which is off Second Street. Parking is available on the street or in the New Auburn Social Club parking lot.

It will be possible to get up close and personal views of the balloons, especially if any attempt the “splash and dash,” a maneuver by balloonists to take their craft down towards the river and touch down in the water before launching up again.

The event is informal, free and meant to provide a new way for local residents and visitors to get out on the river and connect with others. ALT will have staff and volunteers on hand to help unload and load boats, as well as provide guided tours along the shores to explain the evolution of Lewiston and Auburn’s riverfront from the earliest days of settlers through industrialization.

For those with questions or looking for more information, you can call ALT at 782-2302 or visit


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