Paddle For Peace
River Expeditions For War Veterans
What We Do
We are an organization which allows nature to help heal the wounds of war.
Paddle For Peace
Mission: To conduct wilderness paddling trips as a form of outdoor therapy to help veterans suffering from war trauma.
Paddle For Peace(PFP) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization developed to provide an additional form of mental health therapy to those war veterans suffering from war-related afflictions. Half of our returning war veterans receive mental health diagnoses, to include post-traumatic stress and military sexual trauma, which can lead to high rates of alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence and suicide. River paddling trips are offered to war veterans, including women-only trips, as a form of healing outdoor therapy.
Greenbrier River- West Virginia
The Greenbrier is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the East. At high water levels, you can paddle 158 miles. This river is user-friendly, characterized by easy-going class I and II rapids with calmer stretches. The long and friendly river, flowing through the West Virginia mountains and the Monongahela National Forest, is as magnificent as the paddling. If rainfall is scarce, expect to drag your canoe across shallow section.45 miles/3 days. Beard, WV- Caldwell, WV.
Cheat River- Shavers Fork- West Virginia
The Cheat River is a 78.3-mile-long tributary of the Monongahela River in eastern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania; both flow into the Mississippi Watershed. Owing to the ruggedness of the Allegheny Mountains, the Cheat remains remote with few settlements and developments along its banks. This river system is full of great paddling stretches; the section from Bowden to the bridge crossing Shavers Fork, close to Little Black Fork, is a favorite, but low water levels often restrict paddling. From 219 bridge in Parsons to Rowlesburgh has great riffles and fishing. 35.5 miles/3 days. Parsons,WV to Rowlesburgh, WV
Shenandoah- South Fork- Virginia
The north-flowing Shenandoah River defines much of the Virginia landscape, popular with farmers, songwriters, and paddlers alike. The South Fork Shenandoah, between Luray and Bentonville, exemplifies the river’s scenic beauty. You will paddle relatively calm waters with the occasional ledge rapid, which will be portaged, through a combination of farmland, privately owned forest, and public land. The river runs through the heart of the valley with the Massanutten Mountain range rising to your left and the peaks of the Shenandoah National Park rising to your right. Gorgeous!!!! 28miles/2.5days. Luray VA to Bentonville, VA (If water levels high enough, to Front Royal- 44 miles.
OCT 3-6, 2016
Big Sandy River- Tug Fork
The Tug Fork is located in the southwestern region of West Virginia. The Tug flows through remote mountains in its upper course. The river valley between Pike County, Kentucky and Mingo County, West Virginia was the scene of the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud in the late 19th century! 27.6miles/2 days. Panther WV to Matewan WV
Monongahela River- recently added!
"The Mon" -- "Pennsylvania River of the Year" in 2013. The 135-mile-long waterway has historic small towns along its banks along with coal barges, other canoes, paddle rafts, kayaks and fishing boats.
And along the banks of the river, from the town of Monongahela all the way south into West Virginia, sit towns rich with historic significance -- some buildings even date back to the Revolutionary War. Too many cool things to list!! In the second half of the 20th century, industries that helped build these towns faltered, with jobs and populations lost, leaving only the history behind. Peaceful, isolated moments combined with vibrant, uniquely cultural communities, while locking through 9 dams will certainly provide an unforgettable experience! Will put in from my Camp after a hearty breakfast and finish at Station Square for a delicious dinner while enjoying the lights of downtown Pittsburgh! July 22-30 135 miles/ 8-10 days. Colfax, WV- Pittsburgh PA- GREAT TRIP- strenuous paddling.
Who We Are
Iraqi War Veteran, Founder of Paddle For Peace
My name is Annie Balthazar, an Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) war veteran. I recently solo-paddled the entire Mississippi River- 2,200+ miles from its Source to the Sea. It served as an indescribable form of Outdoor Therapy for me. As a result, I have established Paddle For Peace, a non-profit 501(c)(3), in hopes of sharing the wonders of river paddling with other war veterans. Paddle For Peace river adventures will be offered to veterans who suffer from war trauma. All veterans are encouraged to consider and participate in this form of "wilderness therapy". River expeditions will be offered several times a year in "Wild and Wonderful" West Virginia, including women-only trips. These trips will range in length from 20-200 miles. I anticipate launching my first pilot expedition in the Spring of 2016. I am passionately committed to this mission. Please help me be a part of a growing number of vets finding effective ways to help themselves through wilderness adventures.
"Enlightenment is not a matter of imagining figures of light,
but of making the darkness conscious." - C.G. Jung
Annie L. Balthazar (Major USAF, 1996-2007)
Paddle For Peace Expeditions