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Go kayaking at Hoffler Creek

By Alexis Williamson

Intern

The Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve now has kayak rentals available at its Portsmouth location, 4510 Twin Pines Road, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.

People will get the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Preserve from a whole new perspective.

“The kayak season typically begins in mid-April running through early October. Due to COVID-19, the Preserve had to push the start date back. With restrictions lifted and guidelines for proper sanitation in place, staff is ready to move forward” said Heather Key, the community coordinator at Hoffler Creek Wildlife Foundation.

Hoffler Wildlife Preserve has seven single kayaks and four tandem kayaks available. Along with the kayaks, paddles and lifejackets are provided for each rental.

The rental fees for single kayaks are $25 per hour, and tandem kayaks are $35 per hour. Hoffler Creek Wildlife Foundation Members receive a $10 discount on rentals. People can also bring their own kayak or paddleboard to launch for $15.

Reservations should be made at least 24 hours in advance. To make a reservation with the Wildlife Preserve, call 686-8684 or email hofflercreek@hofflercreek.org to check on availability.

There are some restrictions on the kayak rentals.

“We ask that renters do not take their kayak within 200 feet of the mouth of Hoffler Creek to avoid any rougher waters and boat traffic in the James River,” Key said.

For those who would rather stay on land, the Preserve has five trails spanning more than three miles over mostly flat terrain, which is great for beginners and kids. Along with the trails, the Preserve offers birdwatching as well. There is an Early Bird Walk provided on the second Saturday of each month that is free.

“We have started hosting a yoga class on our Lake Deck each month and hope to add more events soon,” Key added. “We try to use the land as passively as possible, which means no pets, jogging or biking are allowed on the trails.”

For animal lovers, the Preserve has many types of wildlife to see.

“There are over 200 species of birds that have been seen at the Preserve, making us a hub for local birdwatchers, especially in the winter,” Key said. “We also have tons of turtles and smaller animals like lizards and snakes. Other animals found here include things like deer, foxes, opossums, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, and bats.”

Even the staff enjoy working at Hoffler Creek.

“One of my favorite things to do here is walk through the trails early in the morning and listen to the birds and the wind in the trees,” Key said. “I have only been kayaking a few times, but it is a lot of fun and something I would recommend for anyone that enjoys being out in nature. Working here is exciting because every day is different from the last.”