The Yadkin River is full of kayaks and canoes this month. That's because the fourth annual Tour de Yadkin is underway.

The waterway is a popular attraction for outdoor activities, including boating, swimming and fishing.

The Yadkin Riverkeeper is hosting an event to promote more ecotourism along the river basin. The Tour de Yadkin kicked off on June 9 and runs through the 29.

“In order to get people to really appreciate the Yadkin River and join in our efforts to advocate on behalf of clean water,  they have to understand the resource before they can understand the importance of protecting it.  That is why we invite people to paddle with us on the river,” says Tara Worden, community outreach coordinator for the Yadkin Riverkeeper.

“The Tour de Yadkin also reminds people of what a great resource they have in their own backyard,” she says.

Worden says the Yadkin Riverkeeper currently is fighting a number of environmental issues, including Alcoa's alleged contamination of PCB's and other chemicals into Badin Lake and the company's licensing efforts for the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project.

“The run-off from chicken farms in Wilkes County and other operations along the river is also a concern,” says Worden.

Last year, more than 400 people participated in Tour de Yadkin.

A paddle-a-thon will also take place this Saturday, June 22. Participants will meet at Tanglewood Park. The 10.8 mile journey begins in Huntsville and ends with an after party at Tanglewood.

Worden says the money raised will help support conservation and sustainability efforts by the Yadkin Riverkeeper.

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