AWA cancels 2020 Adirondack Canoe Classic; replacement events possible

The Adirondack Watershed Alliance (AWA), in cooperation with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT), has decided to cancel the 2020 Adirondack Canoe Classic, originally scheduled for Sept. 11-13.

Historically, the event attracts about 1,500 paddlers and supporters to the 90-mile paddling event, following the water route from Old Forge to Blue Mountain Lake on day one, Long Lake to “The Crusher” fishing access site on Routes 3/30 east of Tupper Lake on day two and Fish Creek Campground through the Saranac Lakes Chain to Lake Flower on day three.

The decision is based on the uncertainty of the direction of the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential effects on the small town populations of the Adirondacks. A significant amount of planning, preparation, promotion and permitting goes on in the months leading up to participants lining up on the start line for the 90-Miler.

“We rely on numerous volunteers, organizations, municipalities and local businesses to pull off the three-day paddling extravaganza, and we can’t ask them to prepare for an event we are not certain will be allowed to take place,” said AWA Events Coordinator Brian McDonnell.

“The AWA and NFCT will monitor the guidance surrounding the reopening of the North Country from the pandemic,” McDonnell added. “Should conditions and state and local government permit, we may be able to offer one or two days of canoe and kayak racing on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail on our traditional date in September.”

AWA and NFCT expect to make formal decisions about alternative events by Aug. 1. More information will be shared on the AWA and NFCT websites: and

“We know people are anxious to be on the water and connect as a community, and we hope we can host an opportunity to support this,” said Karrie Thomas, NFCT’s executive director. “In the meantime, we encourage you to get out and paddle as physical distancing is easy while people are in canoes, kayaks and guide boats.”

AWA and NFCT both express their thanks to the volunteers, organizations, municipalities, local businesses and generous sponsors of the Adirondack Canoe Classic.

For more information on the 2020 90-Miler or the potential for an alternate event, please contact Brian McDonnell, AWA events coordinator, at (518) 891-2744 or go to the AWA website:

Plans remain in place to transition the AWA and all its events to the Northern Forest Canoe Trail in 2021. For more information contact NFCT Executive Director Karrie Thomas at or visit