Friday, January 30, 2009

Subscribe to the Water Blog

Did you know you can get the ACA Water Blog delivered to your inbox? Scroll down to the last post and at the bottom of this page you'll see a link that says "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)" -- this will send it straight to your RSS reader. If you don't have an RSS reader, visit RSS FWD and follow the simple process to have it delivered to your email.

There are other ways to keep up-to-date with ACA's latest activities. You might consider subscribing to our Safety Education & Instruction department newsletter, SEI Focus. This newsletter focuses on committee activities, new courses and curriculum updates, project progress, and so much more. You'll be amazed by how much our small but mighty staff accomplishes each year!

Later this year, we'll also launch a membership newsletter. Let us know about what you'd like to see on our website by emailing

Happy paddling!

Martin A. Bartels
Executive Director, American Canoe Association

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Need for Continuing Education

ACA Instruction - Hands on LearningWhether you paddle in whitewater, canoe on flatwater, paddle a sit on top in the surf zone or fish from a kayak, the need to constantly continue your paddlesports education is paramount. What are the latest safety & rescue techniques for river runners? When was the last time you really practiced using that throw rope stored in the bottom of your boat? Navigating from the cockpit of your sea kayak is different than reading a map on your favorite trail.

How often do you practice re-entering a canoe in deep water? Have you ever heard of the Heel Hook Rescue for a canoe? (If not, click

Improving your paddling technique will provide you with the opportunity to paddle farther and maybe even faster without tiring out as easily. The ACA has provided a series of
Additional Resources, including an article on Paddling Foundations, for all canoeists and kayakers.

Regardless of your skill or expereince level, consider taking a refresher course this spring with a certified
ACA Instructor or Instructor Trainer and fine tune your paddling technique to enjoy your time out on the water.

Chris Stec on the Selway River, Idaho
Paddle Safe - Paddle Often,
Christopher Stec
Safety Education & Instruction Department

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Did You Know?

The View from ACA Camp SebagoThe American Canoe Association (and all our members and clubs) have exclusive access to 2 significant waterfront properties.

The ACA's Sugar Island is located in the heart of the thousand islands near the St. Lawrence Islands National Park in Canada. The island is only acessible by boat and provides a unique camping experience. There are significant paddling opportunities from the island, whether your canoe, kayak or sail.

ACA members also have access to a family camp on Lake Sebago which is located in the scenic Harriman State Park, only forty five minutes from New York City. Camp Sebago is known for it's sprint racing, canoe sailing, fishing, swimming, and spending time with fellow paddlers.

In addition to these two prime paddling destinations, learn more about the benefits of becoming an ACA member at

Chris Stec on the Selway River, Idaho
Paddle Safe - Paddle Often,
Christopher Stec
Safety Education & Instruction Department

Friday, January 23, 2009

Past, Present & Future

ACA Burgeee at Sugar Island
Like most organizations, the ACA is working diligently on a daily basis on issues that are important to the paddlesports world, today and for the foreseeable future. Our current Strategic Tenets of Education, Competition, Stewardship, and Recreation guide us in pursuing our mission.

In addition to the work we are currently undertaking, the ACA is unique from other organizations due to what we've done throughout our history. For the past 129 years, the ACA has supported a wide range of paddlesports initiatives across the country. From being the National Governing Body for the U.S. Olympic Committee for paddlesports to working with a U.S. Senator for a local dam removal, the ACA has a significant record of serving as the primary resource for the paddling community.

To learn more about the storied past of the ACA, please visit our History pages.

If you are not already a member, please consider joining us as we continue to work on behalf of paddlers of all abilities and of all crafts.

Chris Stec on the Selway River, Idaho
Paddle Safe, Paddle Often,

Christopher Stec
Safety Education & Instruction Department

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How we work for you

This has been an inspiring weekend for Americans, but especially so if you live in the DC region (ACA offices are in Fredericksburg, Virginia, about an hour south of DC). 

Regardless of your political persuasion, if you paddle, you're probably well aware of the many issues that combine to create pressure on our recreational waterways. Environmental concerns, world energy needs, and development all influence your experiences in canoes, kayaks, and rafts. It doesn't stop there: motorized boating regulations, navigability, and even Homeland Security concerns all have impacts on where you paddle.

You may not be as aware of the long, proud history of the American Canoe Association in advocacy and stewardship. The ACA works with local paddle clubs to establish water trails that increase paddling opportunities and help protect fragile waterway environments. We work closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and other legislative bodies at the national, state, and local levels to help mitigate the impact of regulations, while keeping our mission of paddler safety as a priority. We work at the federal level to help influence government spending on critical environmental protection initiatives. And, we partner with other like-minded nonprofits around the country to represent the millions of people who love outdoor recreation.

When you support the ACA, you not only support our daily mission and operations. You help make your back yard a better, safer place to paddle.

Happy paddling!

Martin Bartels
ACA Executive Director

Friday, January 16, 2009

New things @

ACA staff members are excited about our new website. We've made everything easier to navigate, and raised the profile of some of our great membership benefits. Did you know, for instance, that ACA members have exclusive access to ACA's Sugar Island (pictured above) on the St. Lawrence River? It's an incredible experience, and the local canoe-sailing and kayaking is phenomenal.

We've also added new pages on all of the various paddling disciplines, from surf kayaking to the elegant freestyle canoeing. You can access some awesome videos through that page, too. In fact, keep your eyes open over the next couple of months: freestyle canoeing will be featured on the Discovery Channel program, "Wreckreation Nation" (Tuesdays at 10pm)!

Happy paddling!

Martin A. Bartels
ACA Executive Director 


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year, New Website, New Blog

Welcome to the American Canoe Association Water Blog. We'll take a slightly different approach to the usual blog in the sense that these entries will be written collectively by ACA staff.

For those of you who know us, we hope you'll visit our blog often for event updates, tips, and favorite paddling spots.

For those of you who don't know us, we're located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, along the Rappahannock River. Founded in 1880, the ACA is one of the most enduring outdoor recreation nonprofits--501(c)(3)--organizations around. We work to keep people safe on the water, whether canoeing, kayaking, or rafting. 

There are more than 4,000 ACA-certified paddlesport instructors out there, so odds are if you're interested in the sport there's someone near you who can help you get started. We also support more than 150 Paddle America clubs. Visit the ACA website at for more information and to become a member.

Meanwhile, happy paddling!