The Nelson Area Paddlers and Nelson Co. Recreation
The Nelson Downriver
Canoe and Kayak Race


The Nelson Downriver Race is intended for anyone interested in canoe or kayak racing - from novices to national champions. Our goal is to promote recreation, conservation and sportsmanship through paddling rivers and lakes in and around Nelson County, Virginia.
The Nelson Area Paddlers

Photographs courtesy of Vernon Powell River Photos Unlimited, Roussos Web Services ( and Emily Harper of Nelson Co. Parks and Rec.

The Barto Family negotiates Rock Pile Rapid
Click Below for More Race Photos
Solo Women
Solo Men Canoe
Solo Men Kayak
Tandem Men
Mixed Tandem
Apres Race
Galleria I
Galleria II
Canoe Stories by Les Fry
The Rock Turtle Chronicles
Formerly thought to have gone extinct millions of years ago, this photo conclusively proves that rock turtles have survived to present day. These creatures are rumored to feed on unwary canoeists and kayakers alike, consuming both the victims and their craft leaving no trace of the unfortunate event. Many close encounters have been reported like the one documented below.

Another Near Miss
Mike Watson frantically paddles the remaining forward half of his 17 ft. Penobscot in a successful escape.
The stern half is believed to have been devoured by a member of the species rockus turtelus (see photo above).

Despite public outcry to end the peril, naturalists are reluctant to take action against an endangered species.

Youthful Moxey
Dan Tucker shows gumption as the only youth solo canoeist in the race. Dan cleverly evades the rock turtle by strategically placing his boat on top of the beast.

Veep Stands Watch
Veep, the Wonder Dog, protects his escort by keeping watch for rock turtles.

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