What You Can Do to Support Canoeing

Do you love to canoe? The canoeing community is passionate about their sport. Here’s what we all can do to help keep canoeing alive and well…

canoeing on a lake

10 million Americans canoe every year, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. Their top reasons for participating in this great activity?

Why people canoe
(courtesy of 2015 Special Report on Paddlesports, © Outdoor Foundation)
  1. Getting exercise. The health benefits of being outside and being active are many.
  2. Being with family and friends. Canoeing is a very social paddling sport. Most canoes are built for two paddlers, and are large enough to take another passenger or two as well.
  3. Being close to nature. We all agree there’s something special about being on the water. We get to experience nature differently when paddling in a canoe—close to the water, we can be close to the shore, in the shallows or out in deeper water. No motor means we can hear all the sounds around us, too.

The fact that 10 million people enjoy canoeing each year is great—but it’s less than .5% of all Americans. What can we do to support canoeing as an activity and encourage even more to try it, too? Here are some ideas:

Invite Others Along with You

Have you heard of word-of-mouth advertising? It doesn’t just work for business, it works for recreation, as well! Your enthusiasm can rub off on others as you share your stories and love of canoeing. When you’ve piqued their interest, invite them on your next excursion. They’re more likely to go with someone experienced than to try it on their own.

Introduce Children to Canoeing

One of the most important things we can do to keep canoeing alive is to pass it on to the next generation. Your own kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, neighborhood kids, school groups, church youth groups, scouting groups (girls, too—not just the boys!). Take them out canoeing, make it fun and do it often!

Make It an Adventure

Looking back at the chart above you’ll notice that after the exercise, health and nature reasons, people canoe for the adventure and excitement of it. Find others who love adventure and plan a canoe trip—a day trip, an overnight or a multi-day trip.

Teach Canoe Skills

Whether you volunteer or get paid, pass on your skills and know-how to others of all ages who want to learn. Like any other recreational activity, canoeing is more fun when the participants know the tips, tricks and technique involved. You can help others learn.

Volunteer to Help Maintain Canoe Destinations

Do you have a favorite canoe destination? Volunteer occasionally to help keep it maintained: portages, entry points, signage, safety standards, education.

Get Involved in Canoe Organizations

Become a member and/or supporter of organizations like:
American Canoe Association
US Canoe Association
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Canoeing is a wonderful way to get outside in nature, stay healthy and have some adventure. Share your passion with others and help keep it a thriving recreational activity.

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