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Jason August: The Constant Paddler

07/30/2020  |  BY rfw

Jason August has been paddling our rivers since 2011 when he moved to downtown Fort Wayne. You can find him on our three rivers throughout the week. As a local, he is one of the Fort’s biggest advocates. He advocates just by enjoying his life downtown and that very much includes his time on the rivers. Whether he is frequenting a local coffee shop, a local pub, or hanging out at Promenade Park, he is actively exploring our downtown throughout the week.

“In 2011, I was 28 years old and had never been on our rivers even though I had driven over them thousands of times. I went to the Deck and hopped on a pontoon ride after moving back to Fort Wayne. I had been away for four years for work and when I came back, everything had changed. I really fell in love with places like Parkview Field with the TinCaps, J K O’Donnell’s, and 816 Pint & Slice. Downtown has grown more and more each year but what really changed everything for me was the rivers,” says August.

He gets noticeably excited when he talks about his first time on the local rivers. “I remember when I saw the city for the first time in a new way and the beauty of the rivers all at once. It felt like a whole new city and felt like a different way to travel Fort Wayne. It gave me a brand new appreciation for what we have,” August says with a smile on his face.

When asked which of the three rivers is his favorite, he is quick to respond. “My favorite is… well, it depends. St. Marys River has the best view. I can lock up my paddle board and go places easily. I love the tree line and views around Swinney Park. I can just bring my music, a cooler, and relax. The St. Joe River is amazing because of the beauty, Stevie’s Island with the rope swing, and of course, Johnny Appleseed. I love the Maumee River but it’s just shorter for me because of the dam. I want to explore it more in the future. I definitely love the bike trail around it.”

August is quick to offer up tips about each of the rivers. You can tell that he knows them well and not from reading a book or studying a map online. He has firsthand experience about access points, how long it takes to get somewhere, and where the best views are. It all comes from his sense of connection to Fort Wayne and having the heart of an explorer.

August says, “Compared to 2011, the rivers in Fort Wayne feel 1,000 percent busier. This is obviously due to the contributions of Promenade Park and the Fort Wayne Outfitters. The Hall family have done an incredible job. For anyone that is not sure how to get on the rivers, I would definitely start with the Fort Wayne Outfitters. They are such a great place to start.”

He mentions, “My future dreams for our rivers include floating docks in strategic places like Bluffton Road, Swinney Park, and the Old Fort. I think that would help further river-dining and adventures. It would make us all more connected and get more people on the rivers. I love that I can go exploring any day I want. I use my own board because it allows me the freedom to do whatever I want on my own timetable. I am always meeting new people while I’m paddling. On the river, everyone feels excited. Everyone is happy and adventurous. People are always saying ‘hey’ or chatting with others. I have never seen an unhappy person on the river.”




by Stephen J. Bailey, owner of PH Digital. Stephen has owned a digital marketing company since 2006 and works out of the Anthony Wayne Building in downtown Fort Wayne. When he isn’t on our rivers, he serves on multiple boards and committees in northeast Indiana.



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