Kristin Manuel

Aquatic Coordinator, City of Knoxville canoe program

What's the idea behind Parks & Rec offering to teach people to canoe Saturday mornings in July?

Basically, we're giving people the opportunity to get on the water, interact with nature and to see the city of Knoxville—the four miles from Holston River Park and downtown—from a different point of view.

And Ijams Nature Center is involved somehow?

Half of our canoes were donated by Ijams, and we're hoping to get an Ijams person to ride along with us to point out some nature some time.

The whole 4-mile trip is every Saturday?

Yes. Once we get to the fall, we may offer the shorter four-mile trip and a longer trip every other time, but we haven't gotten that far into the planning stages.

So it's not just for July?

In fact, August 2, I already have people reserving. What I would like to do is once August comes around, offer a canoe tour every other weekend, possibly through September and maybe even October. I'd like to be able to see the fall colors from the water.

What's the hardest part of teaching people to canoe?

I don't know if there really is a hard part. As long as people are relaxed on the water, it's relatively easy to teach them to canoe. As long as you're not on white water, it should be a relaxing event.

Do people flip?

I've not had anyone flip on one of these trips. We take the recreation centers out on Thursdays and have had some kids flip. It's not a big deal. They hang out in the water, we flip it back over, and they climb back in. But that rarely happens for adults, mainly because they don't want to flip. They don't stand up and they don't do careless things.

Are the July Saturdays full?

No, but some days are getting close. Anyone interested should call 311 and they'll send 'em to me and we'll get 'em signed up.