De Soto National Memorial will be offering free ranger-led kayak tours along the Manatee River on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 20. National park service rangers will lead the tours beginning at 9:30 a.m. on those days and lasting until about 11 a.m., subject to weather. The tours and all equipment use are free. Space is limited and reservations are required by calling (941)792-0458 extension 105. Some safety rules apply to participate in the free tour. All children between the ages of 8-17 must be accompanied by an adult. Due to lifejacket restrictions children less than 50 pounds are not allowed on tours. All participants must stay with the tour group and all gear will be checked, including any privately owned items and a safety briefing will be held before the tour begins.
If you do not own your own equipment the park service supplies kayak, paddle, personal flotation device and other safety equipment. Paddlers are welcome to bring their own equipment, but all kayaks and safety equipment must pass a standard federal safety inspection to participate in the tour. Admission to the park is free. Desoto National Memorial is at 8300 De Soto Memorial Highway, Bradenton. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/deso/parknews/index.htm