Key Bridge Boats is offering free paddle boarding this weekend, so expect Water St. and the river to be a little more crazy than usual. Here is information from REI.

REI is providing free paddling at Key Bridge Boathouse

REI is providing free paddling at Key Bridge Boathouse all weekend long as a part of a campaign for the outdoors. The campaign is called United Outside, and it is built around a simple idea: that in a time of divisive politics, when we are outside, we come together. There are certainly Republicans who love to mountain bike and Democrats who love kayaking – but we don’t generally talk or even think about politics when we are outside.  Instead, we come together around a shared love for what we are doing. The United Outside campaign invites everyone for 100 days of outdoor recess.

Free Weekend is 1 of the 100 events at the core of the United Outside campaign. In one weekend (7/16 & 7/17), REI is making as many things as we can think of in DC that facilitate outdoor fun totally free.  Free paddling at Key Bridge Boathouse, all weekend long.  Free entry to our favorite local national park at Great Falls (Maryland side).  Free REI Outdoor School classes all weekend.  And for the first time in history, the entire Capital Bikeshare system will be completely free.  .

If you go to, you can explore the 100 opportunities that we’re inviting outdoor enthusiasts from across DC area to participate in.

 Public Space Request:

Because of how much interest this campaign is generating, Boating in DC, the operators of Key Bridge Boathouse, anticipate 2-3 thousand paddlers taking advantage of the Free Weekend each day at Key Bridge. In order to provide a safe and comfortable environment, REI is requesting a permit to reserve the tour bus spaces in front of the Key Bridge Boathouse on Water Street from Friday 7/15 through Sunday 7/17 (equates to 300 ft in length) . We plan to use this space to begin a crowd control fence (300 ft. as well) that will separate the crowd from the busy street. As well, for the comfort of those waiting, we will set up a pop up tent with coolers of water and freeze pops. Boating in DC estimates that on a typical weekend customers wait from 30 minutes to an hour. We expect that the wait time will be at least an hour for the Free Weekend paddlers.

Sample of Materials that will be Present:

REI will be handing out wooden tokens for “Vote for the Outdoors.” As a part of our goal to unite people outside, we are giving away 100,000 dollars to be split between 5 local non-profit groups. Anyone who attends a United Outside event, such as this free paddling at Key Bridge Boathouse, can use a wooden token to vote for which non-profit should receive the most funds. Attached is a sample of the material provided. All materials will focus on the United Outside campaign.