Anyone who’s ever found themselves up a creek may want to take advantage of a class being offered by the Soil and Water Conservation District. “Quickstart Your Canoe,” a training course for the amateur paddler, will be held on Aug.19 and 26 from 1-5 p.m. in the Stonelick State Park. Jason Brown, Eastfork Watershed Coordinator, said that the $15 fee will give you a lot of take-home value.
“It’s called ‘quick start your canoe,'” said Brown. “We start with basic equipment that you use, as well as courtesy and environmental ethic. If you’re going to take a trip, these are things you want to keep in mind, like the weather. At first, we’ll sit down and talk about stuff. Then when we’re on the water, we’ll deal with paddling techniques and in-water rescue. If someone flips out of their canoe, we can show them how you can get back into your canoe while in the water. We’ll also talk about portaging.”
Brown, an American Canoe Association (ACA) certified instructor, said that participants will learn techniques such as the “certified stroke” that, if used, will make a trip by canoe a lot easier, and that much more enjoyable. Also, an informational packet will be included that students can take home to learn more about the sport of canoeing.
“I’ve been canoeing since I was about three-years-old, and I went to these trainings and realized that I’d been doing it wrong all of these years,” said Brown. “Once you get the basics down, it saves you a lot of time and energy. You become an effective paddler. This tells you how keep your boat straight, how not to flip out of your boat and how to get back in if you do.”
The course will center on flatwater techniques, which refers to canoeing on ponds or lakes. Brown, however, is also certified in river and stream canoeing and said that there may be courses for such held in the future. Assisting Brown in the class will be representatives from Loveland Canoe and Kayak who helped sponsor the event. The class itself was originally funded by the Ohio Division of Watercraft, and is a part of an ongoing safety campaign that is required as part of that grant.
“We formed a partnership with the division of watercraft and they have what’s called the boater safety education grant,” said Brown. “We applied for that and were able to purchase 16 canoes and trailers for them. To fulfill our grant obligations, we have to do at least two safety courses a year, and also some basic education things during our river sweep. This is just to promote safety education and awareness.”
As part of this program, Brown himself took the certification course earlier this summer.
Also included in the overall canoe program are educational courses that center on the streams themselves. Last year, two educational floats were held by invitation.
Preregistration for the class is required. For more information call (513) 732-7075 or go online at www.eastforkwatershed.org.