2017 Verde River Runoff a choice of two races
CAMP VERDE – In its fifth year now, the Verde River Runoff offers riparian recreation for folks who are either competitive or leisurely in nature.
Excuse the obvious pun, but the annual event sponsored by the Verde River Valley Nature Organization – VRVNO – is all about educating people on the area’s natural resources through recreation and nature tourism.
With 17 miles of the Verde River flowing through Camp Verde, it makes sense that at least one component of the 17th annual Spring Heritage Pecan and Wine Festival be water-related.
And like most Camp Verde events, if it weren’t for volunteers, the runoff likely wouldn’t exist.
“The heart of our events is our volunteer base,” said Lisa Grubbs, events manager for Verde River Valley Nature Organization. “They give generally of their time and their experience at all of our events. It’s amazing. They enjoy it, and we love them.”
Thanks to a rather moist winter – plenty of snow up north – Grubbs also said she’s “excited” about the river level.
“It sure looks pretty high,” Grubbs said.
Five miles, 10 miles
The annual Verde River Runoff will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday with a 10-mile canoe/kayak race on the Verde River from the White Bridge River Access Point to Beasley Flat, a U.S. Forest Service recreation area. White Bridge is located two miles east of I-17 on SR 260 at the corner of S. Quarterhorse Lane.
For folks who enjoy riparian adventures but prefer a shorter voyage, the runoff also launches at 10 a.m. from the Clear Creek River Access Point, also ending at Beasley Flat.
At this time, about 90 people have registered for the event, Grubbs said.
“We’re hoping to get more than 100,” she said.
According to Bob Rothrock, the event’s chairman, river difficulty is considered class I-II.
“We’re anticipating a nice flow, a nice level,” Rothrock said. “But the people who really are racers, it’s amazing how quickly they can finish the 10-mile.”
Rothrock recalls two river runners who finished the 10-mile stretch in less than two hours.
“It’s really remarkable,” Rothrock said. “I expect we might get some people pushing toward an hour-and-a-half. You don’t want to be in their way!”
This year, VRVNO has commissioned several of its volunteers to be safety boaters at various points along the river, “to make sure that everyone is okay,” Grubbs said.
“Common sense stuff,” she said.
Rothrock also offered a few tips to safely enjoy this year’s Verde River Runoff.
Make sure to use a life jacket – not a water ski vest.
“It should be a Type III or a Type V life jacket,” Rothrock said.
Also, don’t wear cotton, “because when it gets wet, it stays wet,” he said. “Wear polyester or wool. Wool is excellent. It even keeps you warm when it’s wet.”
And bring water to drink.
For the sake of safety, the Arizona Rangers will be at Clear Creek and at Beasley Flat directing traffic, parking, and people going in and out of the locations.
Entry fee is $50 per participant for the 10-mile competition, $25 for the five-mile river run. All participants must be at least 12 years of age. Any paddlers between ages 12-18 must be accompanied by an adult.
To register or for more information, visit www.VRVNO.org. Registration cuts off at 6 p.m. March 17, but walk up registration will be available the morning of the race.
Check-in is between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.