Kentucky Waterman’s Series lights up Ohio’s Cuyahoga River!

Kentucky Watermans series blazing paddles cleveland ohio
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The Kentucky Waterman Series reignited Blazing Saddles and Cuyahoga50 this past weekend commemorating the 50th anniversary of the massive fire on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River.

Kentucky Watermans series blazing paddles cleveland ohio
The Cuyahoda River, once overrun by toxic waste and pollution, caught fire multiple times to bring awareness to remediation standards and environmental protection possibilities throughout the region. The fact that there is a water race on this famous river shows the positive rebound Cuyahoga has made! Photo by: Ron Skinner

Cuyahoga River Fire, Cleveland Ohio

The Cuyahoga River caught fire several times between 1868 and 1969 due to its becoming so polluted with oil, cyanide and other industrial waste products. For several years, the river was devoid of life on the stretch between Akron to Cleveland, Ohio with algae being the lone flora & fauna that could even exist in such a compromised ecosystem. The fires on the river sparked the development of the Clean Water Act, the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and many other environmental protection initiatives.

kentucky watermans series explore kentucky
The Kentucky Waterman Series hosts 8 events throughout the region to bring community together, celebrate the outdoors and support causes within their local arenas. You’re lucky if you’re from Kentucky! Photo by: Ron Skinner

Kentucky Waterman’s Series:  Blazing Paddles, Cleveland Ohio

Over the past several months, I have had the privilege of working with Jim Ridge of Share the River to grow the 2nd Annual Blazing Paddles Paddleboard, Kayak & Canoe Paddlefest into an event that showcases the reclamation efforts on the Cuyahoga and be a part of our Kentucky Waterman Series this year.  The event literally blew up overnight with over 250 paddlers from across the country in attendance and 100% of the proceeds going to support efforts to preserve and maintain clean waterways in the Cleveland area.

Kentucky Watermans series blazing paddles
Doug Vojtko and Allison Drewery of the Midwest Paddle League spearhead the charge on the Cuyahoga River in Ohio commemorating the 50th anniversary since the now legendary river caught fire bringing awareness to environmental protection needs in the area. Photo by: Ron Skinner

I also finally had the chance to meet Doug Vojtko of the Midwest Paddle League and talk shop!

Written by:  Gerry Seavo James
Skyline Photo Credit:  Ron Skinner

It is amazing what we can do when we come together to protect our waters!  Aloha, Gerry Seavo for your efforts in keeping the stoke rising and educating others about ways we can protect our watery playground.

Kentucky Waterman Series:  A Paddle for Every Water Athlete

For more information on the Kentucky Waterman Series, check out their website at:
Follow them on Facebook:  @kentuckywatermanseries
Or Instagram:  @kentuckywaterman

There are 8 events between July 6th and October 5th, 2019 wherein you can participate on the great lakes & waters of Ohio & Kentucky!  Stay tuned for MORE from this dynamic series celebrating the great state of Kentucky & beyond.


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Gerry Seavo James is founder of The Explore Kentucky Initiative( EKI). EKI’s mission is to uplift Kentucky’s people by embracing environmentalism and outdoor recreation through events, media, and action campaigns that strive to preserve the natural resources of the commonwealth’s 120 counties. He also serves on the steering committee for the Kentucky Rural Urban Exchange and as a board member for the Kentucky Conservation Committee. Since the 2011, Gerry has helped to further the field of adventure tourism and community & cultural exploration across Kentucky. His work has found him embedded in many rural Kentucky communities and counties for various initiatives that include outdoor recreational events, branding initiatives, conservation projects, and more. Gerry is an avid paddler who is certified by the American Canoe Association (ACA) in the Stand-Up Paddleboard and Canoe disciplines, recently being awarded an ACA National Award for 2018 for regional paddlesports development. He is also a storyteller who uses photography, cinematography, and journalism to tell stories about the landscapes and people he encounters in his travels across the Commonwealth and beyond. In 2017, he was awarded by Lexonomics as the most impactful artist in the Bluegrass.