Saturday, May 27, 2017

Boardman River Clean Sweep with L.L. Bean

Boardman River Clean Sweep
ACA  - LL Bean 2017 Grant Report

1st Annual Mother’s Day Weekend 
Kids Creek / Grand Traverse Commons 
May 13, 2017


In 2012, a dam failed while being dismantled and there was a huge flood on the Boardman River.  After that the Boardman River Clean Sweep had to remove 90 docks, decks and other large debris that had been washed into the river.  The most difficult part of that project was finding the pieces that we had photographed and marked with a GPS.  We needed a combined GPS/camera.


This year we decided to clean up Kids Creek, the last and largest tributary of the Boardman River, which flows through a 100 year old historic stand of Norway Spruce at the restored Traverse City State Psychiatric Hospital that was established in 1881 and closed in 1989. 

We found Kids Creek to be littered with the usual trash and a homeless campsite but when we inspected the surrounding woods, we found a horrible mess. Many homeless people of Traverse City live in these woods and their small amounts of trash and litter have built up over the years to an amazing level.  As far as we know, neither these woods nor the creek have been cleaned up in recent memory.

The woods are a maze of foot paths and trails and I was lost as soon as I walked into them.  We photographed and GPS marked the trash along the creek and in the woods but we had a hard time finding it again when we went back.  It was very confusing.

We used the ACA grant money to buy a waterproof GPS NIKON camera and, with the assistance of a member of the homeless community as our guide, we rephotographed the locations we had previously found and our guide led us to several more sites that we had missed in the woods and on the creek.  

Finding them again was much easier with the photos and GPS coordinates that matched up so easily.  All we need to do now is click on the coordinates under the photos in our report gallery and a map comes up to where the photo was taken and we can see what is there in the photo.

We wanted to do our project before the foliage came out on the trees and bushes so we would not have to struggle to move around in the woods and for clear visual sight lines to keep an eye on everyone for safety, especially any children that volunteered.

On the Saturday of the Mother’s Day weekend, May 13, 2017, seventeen people arrived at our meeting place (in the rain) and we started to work.  4 of the volunteers were young children who worked right along side of us.  They were able to get into spaces that we larger people could not enter.  We all wore protective gloves and the children were not allowed to touch any of the trash except with a grabber.   Seven different organizations were represented.

With the assistance of our homeless volunteer and in only 2 1/2 hours we removed 95 - 42 gallon bags of trash plus a lot of large items like a trash tote, wheel barrow, tents, sleeping bags, tarps  and some boxes.  As we filled the bags, we left them at strategic locations in the woods for later removal and we all moved on to the next site.  Each bag weighed at least 45 pounds.  That's about 4000 pounds in total.
On our last trip out of the woods, we spotted three more sites which some of us went back a few times to complete.  In all we removed a total of 124 bags of trash in three days.  That’s about 4500 pounds.

The ACA grant paid for the Nikon Camera, a port-a-john rental, 120 large heavy duty 3-mil trash bags, box cutters, twine, tape, color printing and heavy duty pruning shears.

We had a donation of food coupons from Burger King for a post cleanup lunch.  We had a donation of a golf cart from the Traverse City Country Club to transport the bags out to the road.  We had a donation from the City of Traverse to remove and dispose of the three large piles of trash bags we deposited along the surrounding roads.   We also had financial support from Adams Chapter Trout Unlimited.  

On our last project day, we distributed trash bags to several of the homeless people camping in the woods and along the creek.  We placed a trash tote at the park across the street from the woods for the campers to use and we left some signs for hikers and bikers to encourage them to take out what they bring in.

We plan to continue the momentum that the ACA helped us start and make this an annual Mother's Day weekend event to maintain this beautiful and pristine property through which runs the largest tributary of the Boardman River.

We wish to thank the American Canoe Association and LL Bean for their continuing support of our efforts to keep the Boardman River flowing clean, cold, and beautiful.

Before our project:

After our project:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Member Highlight

In his 17 years of kayaking all over the world, Dave Herpy, an ACA-certified kayaking instructor, has experienced numerous memorial encounters. This includes seeing alligators, bald eagles, and dolphins from his kayak. He has been instructing for 11 years. However, the greatest kayaking experience of his life took place just last month. During a family trip to Lake Murray in Chapin, South Carolina, in April 2017, Dave taught his six-year-old son, Jacob, how to paddle a kayak for the first time.

“It was a very heart-warming experience for me to be able to share my own passion for kayaking with our son, Jacob,” said Herpy. “It was especially touching to witness his strong connection to paddling, having his life jacket on every time we went outside asking if we could go kayaking again.  He was immediately hooked on kayaking, just as I have been since my first experience 17 years ago.”

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Courtney Herpy photo

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Online Issues of Adventure Kayak and Kayak Angler Magazine

In addition to Canoeroots and Rapid magazine, we are pleased to provide you exclusive access to the latest issues of Adventure Kayak and Kayak Angler magazine! 

These latest issues include articles concerning the power of intention, finding mindfulness, and fights with fish. To read about these, and more, follow the links below!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Online Issues of Canoeroots and Rapid Magazine

We're pleased to provide you with exclusive and free access to the latest issue of Canoeroots and Rapid magazine!

These magazines are online for your convenience and pleasure. Take the time to learn new ways to make money with canoes, hear about the Dream Wave, and so much more. 

Check them out here:

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Day I Died

The following is an excerpt from an article that will be in the March Issue of Paddle. It is Rick Rassier's incredible story of the day he died, we are so thankful that he took the time to share his story with us.  

I was dead before I tipped over. I didn’t take in any water because I wasn’t breathing. Two other paddlers – Derek and Jeremy, right next to me – didn’t think anything of it until they noticed some strange movement of the boat and my paddle floating into the main flow of the river. Because of their quick action, and their “hand of God” move to get me upright and out of my boat, CPR was started within a few minutes...

I’ve always felt like I have a purpose and have been passionate about what I do and even more so now. My new life theme is, “Every minute has a purpose.” My career as a teacher and performance coach have been about determination and teamwork.  The day I died was all about determination and teamwork by everyone at WWP, the paramedics and in the hospital. Saying “thank you” to each of them seems so inadequate.   

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Thank You T.J.!

On behalf of the ACA, we would like to thank Education and Outreach Coordinator T.J. Turner for his outstanding dedication to the paddlesports community during his time on staff at the ACA National Office.
T.J. grew up in the Lower Shenandoah Valley, where he gained appreciation for the outdoors and the mountainous terrain and the waterways of Virginia. In 2001, he started his career in recreation by obtaining a snowboard certification through the Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Snowboard Instructors in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. In 2006, he attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia to study kinesiology focusing on sport and recreation management. While attending JMU, he worked with the University Recreation Center Outdoor Program running programs all around the Shenandoah Valley area and even some paddling trips through West Virginia and Maryland. In 2009, he traveled to Macomb, Illinois to pursue his outdoor recreation education at Western Illinois University. In May 2010, he graduated with a Master’s degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration. In May of 2010, he interned at the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission to continue his outdoor recreation training with a water-sports focus. In the Fall of 2010, he moved out to Wyoming and directed a ski school in the Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest. In April 2011, he took his first ACA course with Josh Hall, Charlie MacArthur, and Roger Schuman for L-2 Stand Up Paddleboard. Since that date, he has been pursuing his passion for teaching and educating others about watersports. In May 2011 and 2012, he helped manage the CCPRC camp program and helped train incoming summer staff.  From August of 2013 through February of 2017, in addition to providing great customer service, T.J. has managed a wide range of U.S. Coast Guard grants for the ACA and as provided ACA outreach at numerous events across the southeast.
He currently holds an L-2 Instructor Trainer certification for Stand Up Paddleboard, helped to write the L-3 SUP surf curriculum for the ACA, and paddles mostly in the greater Charleston area and Folly Beach.
Best wishes on your future endeavors as the Outdoor Recreation Specialist at the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC)!