2021 SUMMER PADDLE SEASON  (Revised 7/26/2021)


Friends of Dragon Run (FODR) welcomes you to one of the most beautiful rivers in Virginia. We are dedicated to preserving this waterway and believe one of the best ways to do that is to show people how special it is by paddling down the river.  We thank you for your interest in Dragon Run and look forward to meeting you on the morning of your paddle trip.

The 2021 Summer paddle season will be different from our last summer paddle season.  We will host paddles on the last 2 weekends of July, Thursday through Monday, we will use a roundtrip route from Big Island, and we will continue with modified COVID-19 precautions (adding others if required by the Virginia Department of Health or the CDC).  Here are the details.  

Vaccinations or Masks required:  We ask that everyone be vaccinated or agree that at all times while on land, wear a mask -- during equipment fitting (kayak, PFD, Paddle) and during launch and takeout.  If you are not willing or able to wear a mask, please do not make a reservation, unless you are fully vaccinated.

Dates: July 22 through August 2, Thursday through Monday only. We will paddle every one of those days that the weather permits, by reservation only.  

Limited group size: 6 Guests maximum each day.  Group reservations will be permitted, but the maximum group size is 6.  Every paddler must be at least 18 years old.

Route: We will meet at the Big Island at 8:00 AM each paddle day. (This is a change.) We will launch from Big Island and do a roundtrip paddle on the Dragon to return to Big Island.  We will paddle upstream and then downstream for a total of about 2.5 to 3 hours.  Since we will paddle when temperatures will probably be in the 90s, and sometimes against the current, this paddle will be more strenuous than our other paddle trips.

Start times and place: We will meet at the Big Island.  The meeting time for all the paddlers is 8:00 a.m. We will be off the water by noon.  Directions and a map are provided below and in a pdf file on the top of this page.

Social distancing and Masks: Any guests who are not fully vaccinated must comply with social distancing requirements and wear a mask when we are on land or being assisted at a beaver dam and during launch and take-out.

No Radios: We will not use individual radios or headsets or earpieces.

No lunch break:  We won’t stop for an extended group lunch break, but we will take several short breaks for folks to hydrate, so bring water and snacks.

Reservations: Reservations will open on 7/1/21 at 9 a.m.  Go to and click on the Signup Genius button.  You will be asked for your cell phone and address information, so that we can assist with contact tracing if we are asked to do that by the VA Department of Health.  Donations must be made at the time of reservation.  The suggested amount is $50.  Without a donation, you may still paddle but not with an advance reservation.    

REFUND POLICY: Refunds will be offered if FODR has to cancel the paddle due to weather or if a paddler guest is ill.  Many paddlers whose trips have been cancelled by FODR or who have changed their plans do not ask for a refund.  Since this is our principal fundraising activity, we hope that you will consider this option, if possible.  

If we have to cancel a paddle or make any changes, we will call the phone number that you give us when you make your reservation.  If you are part of a group, please give your group leader your mobile phone number.  It will be the group leader’s responsibility to notify everyone in the group.  We are not able to arrange rain dates. 

Any time you have questions, you may email 

We provide a kayak for each paddler, a paddle, and a life vest.   DO NOT bring your own boat. The kayaks are sturdy 9 or 10-foot flatwater kayaks that are ideally suited for navigating the Dragon’s narrow, twisting channels. We will adjust your boat to ensure your comfort.  

You may bring your own paddle and life vest.  However, your life vest must be a standard Coast-Guard approved PFD, not inflated by a cartridge. WE REQUIRE LIFE VESTS TO BE WORN AT ALL TIMES WHILE ON THE RIVER.  VESTS MUST BE ZIPPED AND/OR BUCKLED AT ALL TIMES WHILE ON THE WATER.

We will be on the water about2.5 hours, depending on water levels and the overall ability of the paddlers. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, trips usually end around 12:00 p.m.  It is not wise to schedule other events on the day of the paddle because of the uncertainty of trip length.

The trips on this route are not usually too strenuous, but the high temperatures expected during late July will create risks for heat-related injuries such as sunburn or heat stroke.  For anyone not used to paddling in hot weather or upstream, the trip can be a bit tiring and difficult. Spills can and do occur; so be prepared to get wet. Dress for the weather on the day of your paddle.  Bring rain gear and/or a jacket if rain is forecast. A light windbreaker might be handy if it is breezy or chilly. Other items to bring along include paddling gloves, hat, sunscreen and sunglasses and insect repellent.

There are port-a-johns where we launch and takeout.  However, there are NO facilities of any kind along the paddle route.  Bring enough food and water for the day.  No drinking water is available along the route.  We will take frequent water and snack breaks; but we will not stop for lunch.  Pack your food and water in a small, soft-sided bag that will fit in the kayak – the storage area is only about 12 inches wide. Secure cameras, binoculars, phone, and other expensive items in waterproof bags that you can tether to the kayak or wear around your neck.  

NOTE: We strongly recommend that persons with heart problems or other serious medical conditions consider very carefully whether they should make the trip. Remember, we will be in the wilderness. Medical help and transportation are a significant time and miles away. If you have a physical condition that would require treatment while you are on the water, be sure to bring necessary medications and equipment you normally use to treat the condition. If you are allergic to stings, be sure to bring whatever medication you use to counteract a reaction. Please notify your Crew Leader if you have an existing medical condition that we should know about.  

Although insects are seldom a problem, it is wise to bring insect repellent. If you are allergic to stings, be sure to bring whatever medication you use to counteract a reaction.

What about bad weather? We will definitely cancel in case of thunderstorms or if the river is running too fast or the water level is too low or too high. We usually cannot make the decision to go or not to go until the morning of the paddle. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a telephone number where you can be reached the night before and early on the morning of your paddle.  At or before 6:00 a.m., we will notify everyone with an individual reservation or the leader of a group reservation. If you are part of a group trip, be sure to give your group leader your contact information.

If you feel ill on the day of your paddle, stay home!  And, if you have to cancel for any reason, PLEASE LET US KNOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!! That will enable us to fill your seat with someone else. We post all cancellations and other openings on our Facebook page.

We hope to sell FODR merchandise each day after the paddle. We have T-shirts ($20), long-sleeve performance t-shirts ($25), quarter-zip long-sleeve performance t-shirts ($35), long-sleeve performance hoodies ($30), caps ($20), and bucket hats ($30) for sale, with all proceeds benefitting FODR.  We take cash, checks, or credit cards. All of our merchandise can also be purchased through our website, and we will ship it to you. 

This information sheet and the attached Friends of Dragon Run Release Form should be given to everyone in your party.  The release form should be filled out (only one person for each form) by each participant; don’t forget to initial the middle paragraphs.  Bring it to the launch site on the day of your paddle.  

The above information is intended to help you have a safe and happy trip and to enjoy the special wonders of Dragon Run. We look forward to escorting you on this exciting adventure.


Directions for FODR 2021 Summer Paddle:


We will be Launching from the FODR Big Island Property.  Take-out will be from the same location as the launch.  We will have you drive directly to the launch site.  The Launch site is at the end of a one mile dirt road.  Please drive slowly especially if you have a low ground clearance vehicle!  Use the following GPS location: 558 Piedmont Road, Shackleford, VA to get you onto the dirt road.  There will be FODR signs and a FODR Crew member stationed at the transition between the paved and dirt road. 


If you have problems with GPS, directions are as follows:


Heading North on Route 17: Approximately 6 miles north of the Rt 33 and Rt 198 intersection, turn left onto Farley Park Road (Rt. 603).  Travel 4 miles and turn right onto Coldwater Road (Rt. 610). In 3.1 miles continue right onto Piedmont Road (the sign at this intersection says Dabney - this is still Rt. 610).  In 0.4 mile, you will exit the paved road onto a dirt road.  There is a yellow house off to the right and a sign for “Three C Kennel”.  Continue straight past the sign on the dirt road that follows the wood line to the launch site.


Heading South on Route 17: Approximately 17 miles south of Tappahannock, turn right onto Brier Swamp Road (Rt 606).  Travel 1.6 miles continuing onto Dragon Road.  In 1.5 miles, turn right onto Wares Church Road (Rt 602).  In 1.7 miles, make a sharp left turn onto Piedmont Road (Rt 610).  In 1.1 mile, you will turn left onto a dirt road.  There will be an FODR sign and a yellow house off to the left.  Follow the dirt road along the wood line to the launch site.


Heading from West Point: Travel East on Rt 33 for about 4 miles, turn left onto The Trail (just after the Dragon Run Brewing Co).  In 2 miles, turn right onto Elsom Mascot Road (Rt 610) (this becomes Coldwater Road at a stop sign – continue straight).  In 8.6 miles continue right onto Piedmont Road (the sign at this intersection says Dabney - this is still Rt. 610).  In 0.4 mile, you will exit the paved road onto a dirt road.  There is a yellow house off to the right and a sign for “Three C Kennel”.  Continue straight past the sign on the dirt road that follows the wood line to the launch site.

On the day of the paddle, if you get lost, please call Jack Kauffmann  (267-733-3670)


**TAX INFORMATION** IRS requires that a receipt be provided any donor upon request, and that a contemporaneous receipt be issued at the time of any donation of $250.00 or more. FODR will provide a receipt if requested, which will disclose that the trip is valued at $15.00, and that any donation in excess of $15.00 may be considered a donation to Friends of Dragon Run, a 501c(3) organization. We recommend you consult your tax advisor about tax deductions.







































In consideration of participating in any way in the FODR field trip, the undersigned, for himself or herself, his or her personal representatives, heirs, next of kin, agrees to the following:

HEREBY RELEASES, WAIVES, DISCHARGES, AND INDEMNIFIES the Friends of Dragon Run (FODR), all principals, agents, representatives, officers and directors and their respective successors, heirs, and personal representatives, saves them harmless from and against any and all claims, damages, liability, costs and expenses in connection with loss of life, personal injury, and/or loss or damage to property arising from or out of any occurrence associated with participating in, observing, entering or exiting this FODR field trip.

THE UNDERSIGNED expressly acknowledges and agrees that the activities of this field trip are, by its nature, dangerous and involves the risk of serious injury and/or death and/or property loss or damage. The undersigned further expressly agrees that the foregoing release and waiver is intended to be as broad and inclusive as is permitted by the laws governing the towns, cities, and counties where the field trip is being conducted. 

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Warning & Disclaimer

Coronavirus, COVID-19, is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily through person-to-person contact. Federal and state authorities recommend vaccination or social distancing and wearing a mask as a means to prevent the spread of the virus. COVID-19 can lead to severe illness, personal injury, permanent disability, and death. Participating in this field trip could increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. FODR in no way warrants that COVID-19 infection will not occur through participation in this trip. Please initial the blanks here to indicate your agreement.  If you are unwilling to agree or if you are feeling unwell, please withdraw from today’s paddle, and your paddle donation will be refunded.

I am fully vaccinated. ______  ◄−−−   


I agree to keep my mask on at all times while on land and during launch and take-out activities.‏

______  ◄−−−

I agree to maintain a social distance of 3 feet from other paddlers and crew members.         

______  ◄−−−

This release, waiver, and indemnification agreement specifically embraces each and every phase of the field trip sanctioned, authorized, offered and/or promoted by said releases during the entire FODR field trip in which the undersigned participates so that the parties herein intended the same effect as if executed after each and every activity of the field trip in which the undersigned participates so that the parties herein intended release shall be fully and effectively released and indemnified as to the entire field trip herein described and that if any portion thereof is held invalid, it is agreed that the balance shall not be withstanding continue in full legal force and effect.


THE UNDERSIGNED HAS READ AND VOLUNTARILY SIGNS THE RELEASE AND WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT, assumes all risks in connection with the FODR field trip, agrees to abide by all of FODR’s rules and regulations in connection with the field trip, agrees that photos of me may be taken and that such photos may be used by FODR and further agrees that no oral representations, statements, or inducements apart from the foregoing written agreement have been made.  (Only one person per form.)


PRINT FULL NAME: ___________________________________________________________



CITY__________________________________ STATE____________ ZIP ________________

PHONE NUMBER: _____________________EMAIL_________________________________

SIGNATURE: ________________________________________ DATE: ___________

 We invite you to become a member of FODR.  You can complete the application in our brochure (available after your trip) or on our website , and use PayPal or give us your dues today or send a check to 

FODR, P.O. Box 882, Gloucester, VA 23061.                                                                                                                                                                                                     


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