Thursday, July 28, 2016

Paddle Green Spotlight: Paddle Potomac! Paddle Shenandoah!

Mark Frondorf, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper and Dean Naujoks, Potomac Riverkeeper
Paddle Potomac! Paddle Shenandoah! was organized by Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) in partnership with the National Park Service, and timed to coincide with their centennial this year. PRKN works to protect the public's right to clean water in our rivers and streams. We fight polluters to protect the Potomac and Shenandoah, the source of drinking water for millions. Currently we are involved in 17 active suits and are holding Dominion Power accountable for dumping millions of gallons of waste water from their coal ash ponds into a tributary of the Potomac.

We believe the best way to build an appreciation for the river is by experiencing the river. With that in mind, we worked with local outfitters and boathouses to present a dozen events aimed at getting people of all skill levels on the river. While some paddles were free to the public, the ticketed events help support the work we do. The event is an effective way to introduce the public to the organization, and in some cases, to the rivers, as many first time paddlers participated. 

From June 8th-19th, several hundred paddlers joined us on outings ranging from overnight camping and bird-watching to whitewater and moonlight trips. It was our first time organizing an event of this size so it meant a lot to us to see a huge turnout and enthusiastic reactions to the wide variety of experiences we offered.

A few highlights:

  • Running the rapids above Harper’s Ferry to the confluence of the Shenandoah and the Potomac, then hearing a fascinating talk from the NPS about the role of the river in the Civil War. The famous cliff face and bridge where the rivers provided an impressive backdrop.
  • Forming a flotilla of our nearly 100 colorful kayaks, setting off from the Georgetown Waterfront to circle Roosevelt Island. Halfway through, as we round the end of the island, the stately monuments of the Washington skyline suddenly appear.
  • Floating from the Andy Guest Shenandoah River State Park down to Karo Landing with members of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society. We identified over 40 distinct bird species in just a few hours!

The event was a huge success and there is already talk of making it an annual tradition. So if you missed it this year, don’t worry, there’s a very good chance Paddle Potomac! Paddle Shenandoah! will be back in 2017!

Photo Credit: Nathan Ackerman.

Monday, July 25, 2016

ACA Awards - Get Your Nominations In!

There's just a few days left to nominate someone for an ACA National Award!

Every year, the ACA recognizes several individuals and organizations who exemplify outstanding leadership, service, and dedication to paddlesports. Nominations for the 2016 National Awards are now open!
  • Legends of Paddling 
  • Excellence in Instruction
  • Sanctioned Event of the Year
  • Green Paddle for Waterway Conservation
  • Joe Pina Volunteer of the Year
  • Stroke of Achievement
  • J. Henry Rushton
  • Outstanding State Director
  • President's Award
If you would like to nominate a paddler for one of the honors above, please visit to submit your nomination using our online form.

Don't wait - the submission deadline is Friday, July 29, 2016.

Friday, July 22, 2016

This Video Captures What Public Lands Mean to America

America's public lands belong to all of us. No matter where you live, how much money is in your bank account, or where you grew up, you own some of the most stunning places in the country. A movement to privatize and sell off public lands threatens our access, our heritage, and our ownership of these treasured landscapes.
Visit to sign the petition.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Canoeing FairForest Creek, South Carolina

by Burt Kornegay

For several years I had been stopping on bridges to look down on South Carolina's Fairforest Creek and thought it would be a beautiful stream to canoe. My friend Paul Ferguson thought so too, and he also wanted to include Fairforest in a future edition of his paddling guidebook, Canoe Kayak South Carolina. So this May we decided to explore the creek for 3 days. It would be what boaters call a "personal first descent" for both of us. And, based on what we experienced, it may very well have been a first descent period.

Read the whole story in the July issue of Paddle...

Monday, July 18, 2016

ACA & BSA Sea Scout Partnership

Sea Scouts is a program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and is organized into units – called “Ships” – comprised of male and female youth ages 14-21 led by adult leaders. Sea Scouting promotes better citizenship and improved members’ boating skills through instruction and practice in water safety, boating skills, outdoor, social, service experiences, and knowledge of our maritime heritage.

The goal of this MOU between ACA and Sea Scouts, BSA is to create a mutually beneficial program that would encourage Sea Scout Ships to incorporate paddling into their programs and for ACA leaders to share their occupational expertise and guidance to America’s youth.

The ACA and Sea Scouts will work cooperatively with each other, within the policies, procedures, safety guidelines and regulations of each organization, to establish and nurture Sea Scout Ships so that young adults may grow in character, physical and mental health, citizenship responsibility and with personal growth necessary to achieve their greatest potential.

Learn more about this partnership.

Friday, July 15, 2016

News From Sugar Island

Sugar Island is located in the heart of the Thousand Islands in Gananoque, Ontario, Canada, which is an international tourism destination near the St. Lawrence Islands National Park. The 35 acre island is privately owned by the ACA and is available to all members for year round use.

Hello again campers and friends! As summer is upon us, there are a few very important topics the board of trustees would like to announce. First and foremost, the island was recently inspected by the Canadian Building Inspector. The result of this inspection is a new requirement that each platform or cabin deck two feet or more off the ground must have railings and spindles every four inches installed around the perimeter of decking. This must be completed immediately prior to using your site or upon arrival for the Sugar Island Encampment. This is a new regulation and it will be the requirement from this point forward for all campers with a yearly rental (platform/cabin). This upgrade will be at your own expense to bring your campsite up to code. We apologize for such short notice, as we were only notified this Spring after the island was inspected.

Secondly we are looking for a couple people to step up and help with the Sugar Island Web site. Preferably someone who has knowledge in Word Press. This person needs to be computer savvy and be willing to dedicate an hour a week. We are also looking for an editor to write some of the content for the site. Example – history page, fishing page, Sailing and paddling page. This would be the a great forum for young people to build their experience to use on his or her future resume. Please call Susan Blake at 201-741-2977 
if interested. Or contact any one of the board members.

Encampment Schedule

Opening ceremony will be held on Sunday July 24, 2016

Monday, July 25th will be BINGO night!

Tuesday, July 26th – Trustees Meeting 4:00 pm

Wednesday, July 27th – camp work day

Wednesday, July 27th Sugar Island Camp Meeting – Following Colors

Thursday, July 28th – Swim around the island 9:00 am

Thursday, July 28th – Encampment Dinner 6:00 pm

Friday, July 29th – Island Campfire (headquarters)

Sailing Race Schedule

Sunday July 24th opening day 2pm all classes (open canoe)

Monday July 25th 10am and 2 pm 5 meter race

Tuesday July 26th 10am and 2pm ACA Class Race

Arts and Crafts will be Monday – Wednesday – Friday of the first week: Time TBA

Additionally, an island clean-up run by Leslie Mengersen is scheduled for the second week run: time and date will be announced at the camp dinner!

Many sailing events will be on the schedule as well – we will have a list of those dates as well.

We have 2 platforms available – The one in sailors bay that Janie Mengersen used for the last few years and the Cassars. We want to let everyone know that these sites are available. Let us know if you’re interested in taking over that site.


Reflecting on the memories of the 2015 Encampment activities, news, and plans for Sugar Island in 2016

This past encampment, we enjoyed a number of activities and had a whole lot of fun. In addition to the yearly sailing and paddling races, members enjoyed camp crafts, a swim-around-the-island race, the Annual Camp Dinner, Bingo, and our ‘family favorite’ auction. The dinner was a huge success and a fun event with a large attendance as always. We are hoping to have additional activities scheduled for the 2016 encampment, like children’s activities and lessons.

The “Mom and Pop Springel Award” was awarded to the Dermond family, who continues with their dedicated work and commitment to Sugar Island, in the memory of a true Sugar Island Legend - Russel Dermond.

Sugar Island Encampment Race Results:

Open canoe 5 meters: (1) Tom Uebel, (2) Henry Breinig, (3) Marilyn Vogel

Around Sugar: (1) Mike Pirot, (2) Marilyn Vogel, (3) Tom Uebel, 4 Chuck Sutherland, 5 Henry Breinig

Champion Series: 1 David Breinig, 2 Marilyn Vogel, 3 Henry Breinig, 4 Mike Pirot

ACA Champion Series: 1 Marilyn Vogel, 2 Dave Breinig, 3 Chuck Sutherland, 4 Mike Pirot, 5 Henry Breinig

Additional groups visited Sugar throughout the year. A troop consisting of 31 Boy scouts and their leaders were at Sugar early in the summer. We are hoping they will come again next year. There was a large family and their friends that came in late August, utilizing more of Sugar during the season other than the encampment.

The trustees are looking for any ideas from other members to help generate more interest in using the island amongst fellow members within the ACA. We need your ideas to help build the future for Sugar Island. Please feel free to email Secretary Susan Blake at: if you would like to submit your ideas. We are always interested in growth and opportunities to benefit the island.

We are sad to say they we lost Sugar Island Legend, Larry Zuk, this past year. Larry would open the annual encampment with these fine words which should be repeated each and every year in his memory, “Remember those who went before you, and the work that they did.” Despite the rumors Larry did NOT invent the canoe or sailing it, he spent his life on the water, building boats and sailed in every capacity. As an ACA leader and member, he was involved his whole life and committed to the growth of Sugar Island and the canoe sport. He will be truly missed.

With the losses of Sugar Islanders Larry Zuk and Russel Dermond this past spring, it is now our responsibility to carry the baton at this point and continue with their hard work and dedication to this great island. Their attendance and commitment to the ACA and Sugar Island will be missed. The path of Sugar Island is now in our hands to maintain the traditions, create new traditions, and to promote and carry on. 

As you may be aware, the ACA has requested that Sugar Island submit a 5 year plan for the vision and future of Sugar Island and its development. Currently, the trustees are working on revising a plan to present the ACA. We would like to thank you for all of your input during the meeting this past encampment regarding the vision and development of this beautiful place. Thank you to those who worked very hard in drafting and compiling data for this plan. It has been a big help and has pointed us in the right direction in finalizing a completed plan.

Lastly, there is a trustee position available for the 2016-2020 term. If anyone is interested in filling that position, please contact one or all of the trustees with your request. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

We hope that 2016 will be a happy and healthy year. We hope to see you on the Island this summer!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Another Successful Camp Cup!

Special thanks to the Nantahala Outdoor Center and the Alzar School for running another successful Camp Cup event and keeping this classic western North Carolina summer camp tradition alive!

Who knows, some of these boys and girls might be representing the U.S. at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo...

Learn more about the Camp Cup in the July issue of Paddle:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

WebTV Series - More Videos Added!

A few months back, we asked what you, our members, wanted to see more of from the ACA... and many of you said, "More videos!"

So, in response to your call for more video content, we are excited to announce the Paddle Smart WebTV Series!

This series was made possible by generous grant funding provided through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which is administered by the United States Coast Guard. The goal of this video series is to reduce paddlesport related accidents by providing immediate knowledge through short and focused instructional videos.

The series cover the paddlesports disciplines of Stand Up Paddleboarding, Recreational Kayaking and Kayak Fishing and each series consists of 12 episodes that are entertaining and to the point.

Whether you are just starting out in the sport, or you've been paddling for years, there's something for everyone to learn from this exciting series. But you don't have to take our word for it. See for yourself. You can easily find the videos all in one place, at:

We hope you enjoy, and please let us know what you think!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Nominate the Next ACA Instructor of the Month

The ACA is proud to partner with Kokatat for the Instructor of the Month recognition program. Winners receive a free Kokatat t-shirt, as well as recognition in the ACA's eMagazine, Paddle.

If you know someone who is dedicated to spreading the ACA's message of safe, fun, and accessible paddling for all, then please consider nominating them for the Instructor of the Month award.

Submit your nomination today

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Instructor Update Symposium - Still Time to Get The Early Bird Registration Rate!

Registration is now open for the ACA Level 1-2 Instructor Update Symposium scheduled for September 9-11, 2016.

Don't delay-- the early bird rate only lasts until August 19th, and the event is limited to 60 spots.