Each summer for the past 34 years, members of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association have gathered for their annual assembly. For many of those years, the Assembly has been held on the beautiful lakefront campus of Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondack area of upstate New York.
Earlier this year, the WCHA and the Canoe Museum decided to work together to support canoeing heritage by offering the members of each organization a year of free membership in the other. To promote this new initiative and get to know the WCHA better, I spent three days at this year’s assembly, which was once again held at Paul Smith’s College.
This multi-day event is is a feast of canoes, displayed on a central green surrounded by displays, vendors’ tents and a host of workshops and activities. Much of the time is spent looking at canoes, talking about canoes, asking questions about canoes and buying, selling and sometimes trading canoes.
A lot of time is also spent on the water, exploring the many lakes and rivers for which the Adirondacks are so famous.
One evening is always devoted to the paddle-by, a parade of canoes paddled by their owners, builders and restorers past a central reviewing stand while a narrator provides a commentary.
If you’re a member of the WCHA or the CCM, I hope you’ll take them up on their generous offer to get involved with the other organization. If you aren’t a member of either organization yet, why not join them both at the same time and get involved in the preservation (and enjoyment!) of our canoeing heritage. You might also want to dust off your canoe and plan a trip to the Adirondacks next July to take in the 35th Annual Assembly.