Thursday, July 24, 2014

Message in a Plastic Bottle

The following blog post was written by Ken Campbell, co-founder of the Ikkatsu Project, an effort dedicated to exploration, education, and advocacy in the service of the ocean. Ken has authored several books on kayaking and is a frequent contributor to print and online magazines on subjects relating to the outdoors and the environment.

On May 17, I made landfall in Bellingham, Washington, completing the 150-mile journey of the Hyas yiem, a kayak that I constructed out of discarded single-use plastic bottles. This improbable voyage was made in effort to help raise awareness about the proliferation of single-use plastics and the effect they have on our marine environment. Along the way, I was able to participate in several beach clean-ups and gave presentations that focused on the effects that plastic is having in the world's oceans, as well as the impacts it has in Puget Sound.

I began in Olympia, WA, on April 12, and worked steadily northward over the following month, paddling mainly on the weekends. By setting up the expedition schedule in this way, I was able to meet more people out on the beach during busier times and had the chance to get involved in more clean-up efforts.

Conditions were typical for a Northwest spring: rain, wind, sun and calm, and everything in between. The kayak handled surprisingly well and although it didn't move very quickly, it handled the wind, waves, and the current nicely. Early morning was one of my favorite times to get on the water, especially on the days when the sunrise seemed to paint the sky in vast sweeps of brilliant colors, bringing on a blue-sky day.

Hyas yiem is a Chinook term that translates as "telling a tale," a name chosen for several different reasons. There is a melody in it that reminds us of the history that has taken place here in Puget Sound, and the different peoples that have called this place home. As a language, Chinook was used to bridge different cultures; it was often used in trade and discussions between people who otherwise would have not been able to communicate. The environmental issues I was addressing on this trip are realities that affect all of us, regardless of who we are, and we need to find a way to be able to talk about them that makes more sense.

In addition to the other aspects of the journey, I collected water samples at regular intervals along the route that will be used as part of an ongoing worldwide microplastics study. Presentations were made to several different schools before I started on the trip and I also was able to work with the kids from the Chief Kitsap Academy on the Suquamish reservation. There is a very real interest in the science that needs to be done with regard to the health of the ocean and it is encouraging to see the youth become engaged.

Please visit for more information on Ken's work. You can also follow him on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Making Change Happen

Photo credit: Chicago Post Tribune
The ACA National Office exists to serve paddlers like you, all across the country! Please don't hesitate to contact us when you need support for public policy and stewardship issues in your area such as clean water initiatives, educational programs, improved access to paddlesports, and safety concerns. Together, we can make the world a better place to paddle.

Recently, the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association (NWIPA) asked us to support their petition for the development of a water trail along the Little Calumet River and the enhanced management of its green corridor by the National Park Service. We were glad to provide this letter on their behalf. 

Every day, ACA staff, Paddle America Clubs, and volunteers are working to advocate for paddlers across the globe. Are you passionate about a local paddlesports issue? Tell us about it today so we can work together to affect positive change in your community.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New ACA Water Trail Directory is Better Than Ever

The ACA Recommended Water Trail Directory is the most complete database of its kind, featuring almost all of the water trails in the United States. Use it to obtain more information about the water trails in your state, or in the state where you are planning your next paddling trip!

The value of this directory goes beyond simply offering a comprehensive listing. We use this tool to assist groups in establishing their own water trails, helping to not only increase waterway access, but to also protect important environmental resources. 

It is now easier than ever to view the directory and also submit your own water trails. Check out the new and improved ACA Water Trails directory today. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

In Case You Need Another Reason to Buy Werner...

(click image to enlarge)

When you purchase a Werner paddle, you are helping to support the ACA's efforts to clean up our nation's waterways.

We are proud to be a partner in Werner's Healthy Waters program. Click here to learn more! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Early Bird Registration Deadline for Adaptive Paddling Summit

Have you registered for the Adaptive Paddling Summit yet? There's still time to take advantage of Early Bird Registration! Act fast, because you only have until July 31st to get the reduced rate. 

The ACA's first-ever Adaptive Paddling Summit will take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on September 15-17, 2014. Please review the Registration Packet and Schedule for more information.

Click here to sign up today!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Community Responsibility

In addition to promoting paddlesports Education, Stewardship, Exploration, and Competition, the ACA is dedicated to improving the communities we live and paddle in. 

To promote community responsibility across the country, the ACA National Office engages in the following for Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the surrounding area:

  • Received grant funding to place a free life jacket loaner board at Mott's Run Reservoir
  • Trains local canoeists and kayakers in swiftwater rescue techniques on the Rappahannock River
  • Provides hands-on canoe training for the Friends of the Rappahannock volunteer trip leaders
  • Sponsoring organization of RiverFest, the primary fundraiser each year for the Rappahannock River Watershed
  • And more
Whether you are an ACA member, Paddle America Club, Pro School, or Instructor, please consider how you can make a positive difference in your immediate community. And never hesitate to reach out to us for support!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fun in Ohio!

Southwest Ohio's Three Eyed Fish Adventures is the premier canoe and kayak outfitter on the 30-mile East Fork of the Little Miami River. Just minutes away from East Fork Lake State Park, the area is a popular vacation destination for canoeing, kayaking, camping, boating, horseback riding, bicycling, and fishing.

Three Eyed Fish Adventures is a new ACA Outfitter, Livery, and Guide member! Check them out today!