Chris Lechner, the first person to thru-paddle the entire French Broad River on a standup paddle board (SUP), will give a presentation about his adventure on Friday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. at the RiverLink office at 170 Lyman Street in the River Arts District.
Starting in Rosman, near the headwaters of the French Broad, Lechner paddled 8 – 12 hours a day, all the while camping, portaging, and stopping to catch his dinner and later for beers along the river, a total of 227 miles. He also filmed and posted Facebook and blog updates of his two week journey, which terminated in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.
When asked why he did it, he cited a childhood love of kayaking and the French Broad River. For those with long memories in the paddling community Dr. Lechner was a student of Chuck Hines, a paddling legend for our region. He also told the Mountain Xpress, “Wilma Dykeman, author of the classic ‘The French Broad,’ was my next inspiration. Her love for the river was palpable. She made me think of the river as a grand character in a grand play. The river is made human by Wilma’s book the French Broad. She made it real and personal. The people I met along the way made me realize how democratic and what a great equalizer the river is. People — total strangers — shared everything with me from food to bait.”
RiverLink honored the legacy of Wilma Dykeman through the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan, a 17-mile greenway linking the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers into a 17-mile continuous greenway with separate walking and biking trails anchored on the south at the NC Arboretum and on the east by the Blue Ridge Parkway and on the north by UNCA. The Plan consolidates 20 years of planning for the redevelopment of the urban riverfront corridor.
RiverLink is proud to host Dr. Lechner, a renowned hand surgeon, as part of its Fall Salon Series. These casual, informative talks focus on a variety of topics and are free to the public. However, reservations are required. Follow this link to reserve a seat: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0e4caea82ba1f49-salon2.