This paddling club formed 50 years ago and is marking its anniversary on the water — Outdoors — Bangor Everyday News — BDN Maine


In a meeting organized by longtime Bangor Everyday News executive sports editor Bud Leavitt, a group of avid paddlers met in late January 1969 — right after two Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Races had been staged — to see if everyone was interested in forming a paddling club.

According to 78-year-old Allan Fuller, an attendee of that meeting and charter member of the resulting group, it didn’t take lengthy for the club to take type.

“I can not recall if we did all this in the initially meeting, or a further at a further meeting or two,” Fuller mentioned. “Bill [Stearns] mentioned that becoming a ‘chowder society’ would be type of cool due to the fact it was distinctive and it wasn’t just any canoe club. And so we [became] the Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society.”

Courtesy of Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society

Courtesy of Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society

Boats, such as a single that did not fare so nicely, are loaded on a truck at Wassataquoik Stream during a Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society outing in the late 1970s. The club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Currently Fuller is amongst these PPCS members readying for a celebratory paddle to mark the group’s golden anniversary and its hundreds of club trips to lovely rivers in Maine and across the nation.

The PPCS will celebrate its 50th year with a paddle that will stage from the Penobscot Salmon Club in Brewer at 10 a.m. Aug. 24 and head downstream to Orrington. Integrated in that paddle is co-sponsor All-natural Sources Council of Maine, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

[Subscribe to our free morning newsletter and get the latest headlines in your inbox]

The group will paddle in many 28-foot war canoes as nicely as smaller sized boats. These interested in attending, paddling or understanding extra can attain Fuller at [email protected] or 603-886-5555.

Fuller mentioned the PPCS was a loved ones-friendly club, and youngsters normally attended meetings exactly where paddling films would be shown. In current years, the membership has shown indicators of age but that has not dampened their enthusiasm for the sport nor the camaraderie that comes with it.

“It was enjoyable. We had a summer season picnic. And we had a lot extra youngsters than we do these days due to the fact the club has morphed and folks have grown up,” Fuller mentioned. “You know, I’m type of the gray-haired guy and the old guy, but I nonetheless go down the Dead River.”

Kyle Duckworth of Bar Harbor, now 57, joined the PPCS some 22 years ago when he was initially finding into the wet-and-wild sport of whitewater paddling.

Courtesy of the Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society

Courtesy of the Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society

Ed Huff (left) and John Neff of the Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society show off their broken canoe right after an ill-fated club trip down Wassataquoik Stream in the late 1970s.

“I wanted to find out how to paddle whitewater and necessary to come across folks to go with. I was undertaking these races just due to the fact I wanted to meet folks to paddle with. I didn’t like racing due to the fact it was as well substantially like operate. It expected as well substantially work,” Duckworth mentioned. “One of the guys that I met when racing mentioned, ‘Well, what you have to have to do is join the Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society. That is exactly where all the very good whitewater paddlers are.’”

That is exactly where Duckworth discovered his paddling brethren, a group of skilled veterans who knew the state’s rivers and loved to invest time on them. And most importantly, he discovered that society members wanted to share their know-how with other individuals.

“I discovered a lot of extremely very good boaters that knew about all the good rivers to paddle in Maine and who had been extremely welcoming of a new guy,” Duckworth mentioned. “They saw me as a person who had an earnest want and just have to have a hand up. So a lot of people had been prepared to give me that.”

Duckworth mentioned when the club formed, some 30 years earlier, there was not substantially of a whitewater culture in the U.S. Whitewater-certain boats did not exist, nor did specialized gear to make the sport safer or extra comfy.

PPSC members, such as Lew Gilman, who ultimately created the Old Town Tripper canoe and its manufacturing method, had been amongst the trailblazers who paved the way for the adventures that would comply with.

“When folks who go out now kayak down the Kennebec gorge or the Penobscot gorge and they’ve got these hundreds of distinctive boats to opt for from and all the gear that you could feel to do it safely, they take for granted the guys that invented this,” Duckworth mentioned. “We’re standing on their shoulders correct now.”

For extra data about the club and its outings, verify out its Facebook web page.

Watch: Here’s how it feels to paddle via the rapids at Six Mile Falls in the Kenduskeag


Latest posts