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Estuaries Week features river walk, kayaks, beer

Area residents can celebrate National Estuaries this week with a Blackwater River sunset walk, East Bay kayak tour, even a beer quest.

National Estuaries Week begins Saturday, but the Pensacola & Perdido Bays Estuary Program is getting an early start; its first-ever Brews for the Bays event begins tonight featuring six participating area breweries. Participants can get a Brews for the Bays passport at any of the participating businesses; bartenders will stamp passports whose holders buy that brewery’s “Brew for the Bay.” The first 40 participants to submit their completed passports will get a T-shirt. Brews for the Bays continues through Sunday, Sept. 25.

Participating breweries include: A Little Madness, Coastal County, Gary’s Brewery and Biergarten and Perfect Plain in Pensacola; Beardless Brewhaus in Milton; and St. Michael’s in Navarre.

On Sunday, residents 14 and older are invited to take a free East Bay kayak tour starting from Escribano Point on Choctaw Field Road (off State Road 87 South) beginning at 9 a.m. Officials with Jacobs Engineering (which built the East Bay Oyster Reef Restoration Project), the Florida Public Archaeology Network Northwest and the Pensacola and Perdido Bays Program will provide information and answer questions during the tour.

Some kayaks will be available; paddlers who bring their own kayaks are reminded to bring a life jacket. All participants should bring a lunch and plenty of water and are encouraged to bring hats, closed-tow shoes that can get wet, snacks, sunscreen and bug spray. Participants should bring a snorkel set if they would like to get in the water to examine the oyster reefs.

Milton City Councilman Vernon Compton, a conservationist, will lead a one-hour Blackwater River Sunset Walk beginning about 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, beginning at Beardless Brewhaus, 5139 Elmira St. Volunteers from Florida Public Archaeology Network Northwest and the Pensacola and Perdido Bay Estuaries Program also will offer insights into the river’s history and ecology.

“It’s a great opportunity to come out and celebrate not only National Estuaries Week, but also just the gem that we have in the Blackwater River,” Compton said.

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