SOUTH SALT LAKE — Three local mayors climbed into kayaks and canoes Thursday to paddle down the Jordan River to highlight the annual Get Into the River Festival, a reminder to Utahns to take advantage of the 45-mile stretch of trails in the heart of Salt Lake County.
"It's a great opportunity to enjoy an amazing resource that we have here in our community," South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood said. "My favorite comments are when people ride it for the first time and they say, 'Oh my gosh, I had no idea that this asset was in our community.'"
For the inaugural mayor's "floatilla," Wood, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Murray Mayor Blair Camp, and Soren Simonsen, executive director of the Jordan River Commission, started paddling the river at 4200 South and exited at James Madison Park along 3300 South.
"It's fun, it's safe, the water's great," McAdams said. "It's quiet and peaceful and beautiful."
Approaching the first day of fall, Wood urged families to enjoy an "underutilized resource" in the middle of the city, whether by paddling the river or riding the paved trail along the shore.
"I just wish more people knew about it," she said. "It's a little oasis in the middle of the city."
The Get Into the River Festival is a monthlong event to spotlight the Jordan River and its recreation opportunities.
Other events include the Tracy Aviary Nature Walk along the river Saturday at 10 a.m. starting at River Oaks Golf Course, 9300 S. Riverside Drive in Sandy, and Ride the River Trail, a bike ride with Wood Monday at 6:30 p.m., starting at General Holm Park, 1050 W. Carlisle Park Lane.
More information about the festival can be found at getintotheriver.org.