Sunday, March 17, 2013
I spent lots of quality time helping to man the Bad River Watershed booth at Canoecopia and had nothing but positive response to the message and the concerns about the mining bill that was railroaded through Wisconsin's one party government system. Once it was passed in the Duma it was quickly rubber stamped the next week by the Chairman of the Central Committee. Canoecopia fell between those two events, a fact that at least 70% of the booth visitors were aware of. The display of aquatic insects that are present in cold, clear, clean water was a great idea and most people looked at the nymphs and wet and dry flies (can you tell I fly fish), bugs actually called macroinvetrebrates, and understood the 'canary in the coal mine' concept regarding these insects and water quality. Big thanks to Darren Bush for finding the BRWA not only a booth at the last minute, but a booth next to Paddling,net and their constant drawings and across from Wenonah/Current Designs. That's what the retailers refer to as a high traffic area. When I thanked him he said very simply, "It's important". Very well stated.
We did get a chance to wander the show as well, accompanied by our buddy the UndergroundHippie from Omaha, who braved winter storms to make the 15 hour round trip. At least he didn't lose his luggage en route. Standing in one place made it pretty easy to run into dozens of friends, including an old college buddy from Racine that I hadn't seen for 35 years. I don't recall anything amazing new products although there were some nice riffs on existing stuff as well as some new hulls in the boat area. Seeing both Chesapeake and Pygmy kit boat folks there was great. Son CptO and I built a CLC 17LT back in 1999, a fun father/son project that resulted in a great boat. Both booths had great buzz and constant traffic. For some reason people just can't resist caressing a nicely varnished wooden boat and I am no exception. There was not much Greenland gear there, although friends Christopher Crowhurst and Ron Steinwell had paddles and rolling paraphernalia and there was one other paddle maker, although no sign of Brooks or Reed Chillcheater in the place. I guess we are a small, devoted lunatic fringe and it's probably good that we stay that way.
Many people have written that Canocopia is all about community and I have to agree with that assessment. Between running into paddling cronies, attending the many presentations, and lusting after new gear, my paddling interest was certainly kindled for the 2013 liquid water season. I still plan to sneak across the ice road to Madeline Island this weekend at some point before or after the annual Frontier Bar St Pat's party, but I will also get the boats and gear ready for the first paddle trip of the year, which is Red Rocks Lake in Iowa over Easter. I also pulled the trigger, after having an iPhone with the credit card reader app waved at me by Keith Wikle every time I saw him, on attending the Gales Storm Gathering in October in my home waters of the Apostle Islands. I'm already looking forward to that and hoping for foul weather. Bill Thompson and Mr. K Blades were also there and reminded me that the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium, the granddaddy of em all on the Great Lakes, was open for registration. Bill was there promoting Ladies of the Lake, another fine event, this year on Drummond Island. I also need to give Northwest Canoe some business with the cracked deck on my Explorer. I told Dennis at NW that I would be a much more careful paddler if not for him, and that I wasn't sure if that was a good or a bad thing. They also had a nice booth at Canoecopia, yet another example of the community of paddlers.
Thanks for all the support for the Bad River Watershed, it was great seeing everyone, and look out paddling season, here we come!