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.

  1. Begin the draw-up of a double-ended, 20 ft poling canoe design.
  2. Train the crew on how to transfer these dimensions into a male plug.
  3. Train the crew to construct an industrial-grade, reusable two-piece female mold. (He will donate materials)
  4. Using the best epoxy resins, foam cores and paints, teach the crew how to pop a fresh hull.
  5. Fashion gunwales, thwarts, and seats from live slabs of white ash.
  6. Finish the Poling Canoe
  7. Test the canoe with a typical load of freight on a wild river.
  8. 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 exclusively 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.

Dates and times are flexible and to be worked out between Michael and the group. Michael hopes to attract a unique bunch that would like to contribute to the design. He indicates that it’s a complicated, challenging endeavor designing from scratch. Much of the initial white board/ design-theory can be done via zoom while we wait for medical advancements against this current pandemic.

Interested individuals or groups should contact Michael directly at:

Michael Manzo
Yukon Freightworks Canoe Co.
About the project host, Michael Manzo:
After three one-year tours in the Iraq war with the C-84th Engineers Combat Heavy Company, I returned back to Alaska to Attend Alaska Pacific University to create a canoe building company. For over 8 years now, I”ve built dozens of freighter canoes for rural subsistence folks and adventurists. I operate Alaska’s only canoe company, and additional shops will be opened in Hondo, Alberta and Dyer Brook, Maine. The design came about after three trips up the Kandik River in 2010, 2011 and 2012 as well as many other rivers, creeks and lakes all over Alaska. I’m a registered member of the Band of Aroostook Micmacs in Presque Isle Maine. My grandmother was a basket, snowshoe and paddle maker from the Eel Ground Reserve in New Brunswick. She is in the book: Our Lives in Our Hands. In Addition to building freighter canoes, I also build freight sleds, testing them on winter caribou hunts with my team of Alaskan Malamutes. I currently run a kennel of 11 malamutes, with an additional litter on the way. They’ve primarily been used to haul 2-3 caribou at a time, sheefish, cabin tents, wood stoves and large caches of grub. They’ve been trained on the sea ice and treeless regions of the Northwest Arctic, as well as the wooded trails here in the interior. My canoes and dog sled builds have been filmed with National Geographic. My current customer-base is an eccentric bunch of adventurists and subsistence folks. Here’s a couple examples of my customers in action:


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