Latest News from Fairbanks Paddlers
Fairbanks Paddlers will hold its Annual Meeting in a virtual format over Zoom on Friday, November 6 at 7 pm. Without our customary potluck and gear swap, the business meeting will be short, as we have had to cancel or postpone a number of our usual events this year. We welcome creative new ideas of how the club can adapt activities for the coming season in light of current challenges. Attendees are also encouraged to share brief descriptions of some of their paddling outings this past summer and fall. We have a couple of board positions to fill, and will elect candidates at the end of the meeting.
In lieu of having a guest speaker, we will have a watch party featuring three films that we would have shown at our annual Paddling Film festival that we had planned for last May. We have received permission to download and share these through our virtual meeting. The films the board has chosen to show along with descriptions and trailers are included at the end of this post.
As an incentive to join us, we will be offering several giveaways to virtual attendees. “Door” prizes include two $50 Beaver Sports gift certificates, two of our new club caps with your choice of blue or green and with either canoe or kayak embroidered logo ($35 value each) and two of our new club T-shirts with choice of color, size and logo.
You don’t have to be a current member to attend, but we do encourage you to renew your membership or join the club at https://fairbankspaddlers.org/join/ .
Here is the Zoom Link to the Annual Meeting and Watch Party:
or Dial in:
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) or
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 997 0038 0383
Solo Kayak Adventure in India
Kayaker Nouria Newman embarks on a solo, multiday descent on the raging waters of the Indus River in the Himalayas. Feeling challenged, blessed and vulnerable at the same time, Nouria shares her feelings with captivating honesty. From brutal close calls to moments of grace, the river delivers an intense experience shared in this gripping film. (12 minutes)
Dave the Potter – Letting Go and Moving On
An artisan in northeastern Pennsylvania shifts his focus from pottery to paddling in a bid to expand his life’s horizon. (6 min.)
Svaha tells the remarkable story of a 2,000-mile, three-month sea kayak expedition across the Caribbean Sea, from Grenada to Miami, through some of the world’s most treacherous waters. With just a single day of sea kayak experience, childhood friends, Will McCreadie and George Parry, take on the expedition to raise funds for their charity, the Get Exploring Trust. With remarkable footage of real life-and-death situations, the film is a tribute to tenacity and endurance. (28 min.)
Last winter at our annual meeting, Wade Jones stepped up and volunteered to place an order for new club ball caps and t-shirts through local business Trademark Printing / Great Alaska Shirt Company.
Thanks to Wade’s efforts, we now caps and T-shirts for sale through our website through the SHOP menu item!
The caps are cotton garment-washed ball caps by Port Authority. These feature custom embroidered club logo in either canoe or kayak version, with “FAIRBANKS PADDLERS” embroidered in an arch on the back. They are “one-size” caps with an adjustable fabric strap with clasp and grommet. Caps are available in either blue or green.
The T-shirts are 100% Cotton Tees by Port & Company. They feature the club logo in a new round format in either the kayak or canoe version. They are available in limited quantities in sizes Medium, Large, and Extra Large in either Navy or Dark Green.
We have typically sold club merchandise at functions like our annual meeting, slideshows, the Paddling Film Fest, and our boat swap. With most of these events canceled over the past season, we haven’t had an opportunity to get these products out to members or the public.
Fairbanks Paddlers is not making money by selling this merchandise. We’ve priced items to just cover the cost of the order and shipping. Caps are $35 and T-shirts $24 with flat rate shipping of $6. Merchandise is currently only available within the United States.
Michael Manzo, the owner and designer of Yukon Freightworks Canoe Company, has contacted Fairbanks Paddlers and expressed interest in getting a group of experienced canoeist together to design and build a 20 foot poling canoe. Michael would host the project in his 120′ x 40′ canoe and freight sled building shop in Delta Junction.
He has proposed this process with a small group of interested paddlers.
- Begin the draw-up of a double-ended, 20 ft poling canoe design.
- Train the crew on how to transfer these dimensions into a male plug.
- Train the crew to construct an industrial-grade, reusable two-piece female mold. (He will donate materials)
- Using the best epoxy resins, foam cores and paints, teach the crew how to pop a fresh hull.
- Fashion gunwales, thwarts, and seats from live slabs of white ash.
- Finish the Poling Canoe
- Test the canoe with a typical load of freight on a wild river.
- Donate Canoe to a youth poling and lining class program.
General dimensions will be 20 ft long. A center beam somewhere between 41-46 inches. A canoe designed to be paddled, poled and use of a small portable outboard no heavier than 55 lbs. A safe, beamy, all-around poling canoe designed exlusively for Alaskan families, by Alaskans, fills a void that has existed for far too long.
Photos show some of the foam core epoxy freighter canoes that Michael has designed and built.
Celebrate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at the 24th Run for the Refuge. The Northern Alaska Environmental Center is taking the event virtual this year. People can participate by running, walking, hiking, biking, or paddling a 5K or 10K route of their own choosing, or can choose a route sponsored by local organizations. Participants can choose any time between July 24 -26 to do their route
Fairbanks Paddlers is sponsoring two paddling routes on the Chena through Fairbanks:
10 K – Barnette Bridge to Pikes Landing
The 10 km route starts at the end of Turner Street just downstream of the Barnette Street bridge on the north side of the Chena. It finishes at Pikes Landing.
5 K – Graehl Landing to Pioneer Park
To make this popular float an honest 5 km, put in at the boat landing at Graehl Park near Front Street and Forty Mile Ave. Paddle upstream to the upstream side of Steese Highway Bridge, then turn your boat around and paddle downstream to Pioneer Park just upstream of the Peger Road bridge. You could get creative and turn this into a 10k paddle & pedal route if you pick a 5 k bike shuttle route back to the put-in.
Sign Up Online – Get Great Swag!
Register Online for the 24th Annual Run for the Refuge on RunSignup.
Deadline to sign up is July 21.
All registrants, regardless of location, will receive Run for the Refuge t-shirts with our 2020 artwork, coming soon. We will give details for mailing or pick up of race materials as we decide how best to do so.
$25 for Adults, $15 for 12 & under. Includes choice of t-shirt or hat, or long sleeved t-shirt for an extra $7 (this adds $0.50 to the race fee as it is calculated by RunSignup as a percentage.) All registrants 12 & under will receive t-shirts.
Run Packets will be mailed for all outside of Fairbanks registrants. For those in Fairbanks, we will arrange a socially distant pick up day, or we can mail your packet.
Join our Facebook Event Page to discuss your routes and get inspired. Use #RunForTheRefuge and tag @TheNorthernCenter so we can see your adventures!
Support the conservation of Alaska’s largest refuge by participating in this fun, family-friendly event!
For any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact the Events Coordinator, Caitlin Lenahan, at email@example.com
Fairbanks Paddlers will begin hosting Wednesday night paddles every other Wednesday night starting June 3.
In the interest in keeping with our COVID-19 policy and to avoid the challenges of shared shuttles with non-household members, we will hold our first Wednesday night event at Tanana Lakes on Wednesday, June 3 at 6 p.m. We will start and end at the non-motorized boat launch on the West side of Cushman lake near Alaska Dream Adventures boat rental.
To add a little interest to an evening paddle around the lake, we will have a “poker run” with five locations around the lake to pick a waterproof card for a best poker hand. We will also have a throw bag toss contest to see who has the best aim at “saving” a “swimmer”. Modest prizes will be offered for the best poker hand and most accurate rescuer. ( If you don’t have your own throw bag, Alaska Dream Adventures has offered to let us use their throw bags with which they use a sterilization protocol.)
Epic Kayak Ultimate also uses Tanana Lakes on Wednesday evenings. As you paddle and relax on the beach, you can also watch how ultimate frisbee is played in kayaks.
Bring your own picnic dinner. We will practice social distancing and will not be sharing food. We will not be using the club propane grill. We will have a fire in one of the fire rings along the gravel beach if you would like to bring your own brats or hotdogs to cook on a long stick. Glass containers are not allowed on the beaches.
In order to facilitate contact tracing and anticipate group size, we ask participants to add their name and contact information to the shared Google Sheet at https://bit.ly/june3wedpaddle
John and Karen Schauer will coordinate this first Wednesday night paddle. You can contact them at 907-460-6290 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking for members to sign up to coordinate other Wednesday night paddles on these dates:
( Venues to be chosen by coordinators. )
- June 17
- July 1
- July 15
- July 29
- August 12
- August 26
- September 9
Paddling Outings with Bicycle Shuttles
These notes on paddling trips that can be made with bicycle shuttles are offered as a way for groups to paddle together while still honoring the mandate against people from different households sharing vehicles during the shuttle back to the put-in. Besides, combining paddlesports with bicycling doubles the pleasure of being out in our sunny interior summers. Practice safe cycling, wear a helmet, obey traffic laws, and wear bright clothing. Combining biking and boating means you need to think about safety for two pleasurable activities.
Paddling in moving water is an inherently dangerous activity. Don’t paddle beyond your ability. Always wear a life jacket. Always stay alert and look ahead for hazards that you may be approaching. Don’t drink and paddle. Remember that the water is cold, especially early in the season. Remember that our Alaskan weather can change quickly and take plenty of warm clothes in a dry bag, as well as extra clothes in case you or someone in your party takes an unexpected swim. Sweepers are the most common danger on our interior rivers. Give them as much room as you can. Sometimes it may be necessary to land on the opposite shore and walk your boat around the end of the sweeper. Sometimes a tree or even multiple logs may block the entire channel and you will have to portage or drag your boat around or over them. If you can’t tell from the river whether it is possible to get around a particular tree or not, it never hurts to pull over, get out of your boat, and walk over to where you can see clearly what the situation is before committing yourself to it.
Remember to bring food and water, rain gear, mosquito repellent, sun block, an extra paddle, bear spray when out of town, and appropriate footwear for walking in the water. Always be prepared for a trip to take longer than expected.
In accordance with the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, the State of Alaska, and local health organizations the Fairbanks Paddlers Club guidelines for safe paddling and events reflect our commitment to safe paddling, public health, and community well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Paddling can be risky so the Fairbanks Paddlers Club recommends that all paddlers in rural or remote areas paddle below their or their group’s ability level because scarce healthcare resources should not be tied up with rescue or emergency services. Paddle smart, paddle safe.
Support local business where appropriate, they are suffering economically.
A key aspect of public health is that Covid-19 can be transmitted by subjects that have not developed symptoms, so the Fairbanks Paddlers has adopted a Covid-19 risk management policy based on the guidelines from the American Canoe Association, the American Packraft Association, and the State of Alaska Covid-19 Health Mandates. We encourage all paddlers to follow these or similar policies when paddling during this pandemic.
Fairbanks Paddlers’ Covid-19 Risk Management Plan
The Fairbanks Paddlers’ Covid-19 Risk Management Plan must be understood and agreed upon by all participants at Club events.
- No one exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms is allowed to participate.
- Anyone with a fever cannot participate for 72 hours following a return to normal temperature.
- Social distancing of 6 feet (good) or 10 feet (better) should be maintained both on land and on water (pay particular attention at put-ins and take-outs; loading and unloading craft; no rafting up on the water).
- Face masks are encouraged and required at put-ins and take-outs, and if ever non-household groups are in close proximity (less than six feet).
- Paddlers should avoid popular places and times in order to more effectively social distance. If you know there are likely to be other users, try to pick a different time or place to paddle.
- Hand washing facilities, equipment, and opportunities should be available for all participants (plenty of soap and water, wash for 20 seconds).
- Hand sanitizer must be available.
- Sanitizing wipes or disinfectant sprays must be available.
- Any common equipment must be regularly sanitized.
- Upon returning home all participants should wash their hands (full bathing is encouraged) and wash their clothes before wearing them again.
- If public restrooms are open only one person at a time should use them. If public restrooms are not available each individual is responsible for a “bathroom bag” (i.e. trowel, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, zip lock bags at a minimum). A “bathroom bag” is not the responsibility of the Fairbanks Paddlers Club.
Limited to ten (10) participants at this time (April 30, 2020).
- Tent sites must be 25 feet apart from non-household members.
- Common areas (i.e. campfires, cooking areas) should be used with appropriate social distancing or at different times.
- No sharing of food or drink.
- Household members can travel in a vehicle together. No carpooling or running shuttles with non-household members. Use bicycle shuttles where appropriate.
- Plan your trips to avoid unnecessary visits to other communities in order to minimize cross contamination. Pack all your food, gear, water, snacks, and fill up with gas before you leave your own community.
- When traveling, minimize stops and avoid crowded places. Only one person in the group should deal with any vendors and should wear a face mask when doing so. Wash or sanitize hands before exiting and after returning to the vehicle.
Fairbanks Paddlers’ first presentation of our Spring Slideshow Series will be Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 7:00 pm at the Dog Mushers Hall at 925 Farmers Loop Road.
Come enjoy a slide show presented by Cameron Baird as he takes you down 150 miles of the Alsek River’s ice age wilderness.
Starting in the interior near Haines Junction, Yukon and finishing at Dry Bay, AK, this 12 day trip cuts along the edged of the worlds largest nonpolar ice cap as it passes through heart of the worlds largest bio-preserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the river cuts through the mountains to the coast we’ll float through iceberg filled lakes, pass by glaciers, raft class III and IV rapids, portage Turnback Canyon, take amazing side hikes, and watch stunning sunsets.
Spring is right around the corner and you know you are itching to go boating so stop by and enjoy an informal evening on the Alsek while we wait for the snow to melt.
The Folk School will be selling hot dogs and popcorn. This is a bring your own beverage event. The public is welcome to attend.
It’s not too early to polish your paddling skills and have some fun on the water. While the rivers and lakes are frozen, you can enjoy paddling indoors at several different locations and times. Practice your strokes and self-rescue techniques, catch up with old paddling friends, and meet some new ones.
Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation makes Hamme Pool available to paddlers on Monday nights from 7-9pm for the same prices as open swim sessions: $4 for Youth and Seniors; $6 for adults. Sessions go from January 6 through May 11, except for MLK day in January and Presidents’ Day in February.
Bring your clean canoe or kayak and brush up on your skills before the river ice melts!
Boats and gear must be cleaned of leaves, dirt and other debris each time prior to getting in pool.
This is not an open swim.
Canoes & kayaks only – all other craft must be pre-approved (packrafts have been allowed in past years).
Youth must pass swim test or wear life jacket.
7:00–8:00p Paddling practice (whole pool)
8:00–9:00p Paddling practice (deep end only)
Water Polo (shallow end) Helmet required
Boaters and boats must be out of building by 9:20
Epic Kayak Ultimate sponsors kayak and canoe practice sessions at Patty Pool from 3-5pm on Sunday afternoons through April 19, 2020. Cost is $5 per person if you don’t have a membership.
The Alaska Club
Alaska Dream Adventures hosts paddling sessions at the Alaska Club on Saturdays from 5-7 pm. Cost for non-members is $15.
Contact Tony Mustered at (907) 460-2909 if you don’t have a boat you can bring and would like to borrow one.