THE BRONX - The Bronx River Alliance is ushering in the beginning of the summer paddling season with free canoeing lessons, bike trails and nature walks.

It's all part of the organization's annual flotilla festivity, marking 15 years of operations. The free outdoor event was held at Starlight Park, off the Sheridan Expressway.

Organizers say the event on the Bronx River highlights how far the body of water has come throughout the years.

During the summer, the Alliance takes more than 2,000 people along the river, which was named a natural water trail in 2012.