On September 24th, 2011, in the small central Adirondack town of Inlet, a community came together for a great cause and broke a Guinness World Record by forming the largest raft of canoes and kayaks in the world. The “One Square Mile of Hope” event helped raise over $80,000 for Breast Cancer Research. In one day, the population of Inlet more than quadrupled, and the town transformed into a bustling hive of activity with tangible excitement in the air. As we loaded our kayaks into the water and saw just how many people were about to be joining us out on the water, we realized how fortunate we were to be participating in the event.
During a visit to Inlet in the summer of 2011, we just happened to overhear One Square Mile of Hope being discussed at one of the rustic gift shops in town. After nosing around a bit, we found further details about the fundraiser and registered on the spot. When everyone participating in the event circled up on the water, the feeling of camaraderie was incredible. Everyone had been touched by cancer in some way that made them want to be involved with the event; breaking the world record was just a nice side benefit of the fundraiser.
After a few months of waiting with bated breath, Guinness announced that One Square Mile of Hope had earned the world record, with a raft consisting of 1,902 boats and around 2,200 paddlers. Pittsburgh, a city with a population of 350,000 which held the previous record, had been beaten by a town with a year-round population of only 400 residents. In August 2013, Inlet’s record was broken by a floatilla held in Suttons Bay, Michigan – 2,099 boats. Shortly after the new record was publicized in November, One Square Mile of Hope and the Kiwanis Club of the Central Adirondacks announced that they would be partnering to host the 2014 One Square Mile of Hope on September 13th in an attempt to regain their place in the record books and once again raise funds for a good cause. For more details on the event and how to register you can check out the One Square Mile of Hope website.
Here’s a video we created from the 2011 event: