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Your Guide To The 2017 Upper Great Lakes Regional Canoe Assembly

A variety of activities starting Thursday August 24 and running through Saturday August 26 has been planned for the Upper Great Lakes Regional Canoe Assembly (UGLRCA) of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA). The 2017 Assembly is being hosted by the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM), and activities will take place in both Shell Lake and Spooner, Wisconsin. Here is your daily guide to everything you won’t want to miss.

Thursday August 24, 2017

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Assembly Registration & Museum Exhibit Hall Open House (10AM-4PM, WCHM Exhibit Hall). Stop by the museum for a quick tour and to pick up your registration packet anytime during the regular museum open hours. If you haven’t pre-registered, you can do so now.


Paddle Trip: Namekagon, a Wild & Scenic River (1PM-5PM, Meet at Museum 12PM). Sorry, this trip is now full. Explore a scenic and peaceful stretch of the Namekagon River with Jamie Souza of the St. Croix River Association. We’ll paddle far away from roads and highways, and enjoy the abundance of wildlife along this stretch of river from County K to Whispering Pines. We’ll experience flat water with a few riffles and light rapids. Numerous islands and river bends hide other paddlers, offering a quiet and secluded excursion. During the paddle, we’ll discuss and attempt to spot wild members of the river ecosystem, including freshwater mussels, sturgeon, colorful dragonflies and bald eagles. This ten mile stretch should take three to five hours. Meet at the museum in Spooner one hour before start time to organize shuttles. The trip is limited to six canoes so we suggest reserving a spot.

Tour: The Potters Shed (4:00 PM, Meet at the Museum at 3:30 PM or at the big fish in Shell Lake at 3:45 PM). The Potter’s Shed in Shell Lake is a 50,000 foot creative compound with an art gallery and garden with ponds and waterfalls. A hands-on area gives visitors’ young and old a chance to decorate their own pottery or make their own wood sign. Behind the public space are the creation and production areas of Spooner Creek Design and Macone Clay, both nationally recognized hand-made clay products. We’ve arranged for Assembly participants to tour these areas to see how tiles, plaques, clocks, picture frames, vases, and the make-your-own pottery pieces are produced.  Come back on Friday evening for the live music show with TrueGrass.


Welcome Reception For Assembly Participants (5PM-7PM, WCHM Exhibit Hall). “Hello, haven’t seen you in a while.” “Has it been a year already?” “Where are you staying?” “Are you going on the paddle tomorrow?” “How about the tour?” “What did you bring to show?” “Have you seen all the new items in the museum?” The Thursday evening welcome reception will be a great time to catch up with old friends, enjoy a refreshment or two, and get set for the evening presentation to follow. We hope you’ll stop by and say “Hello….”


Presentation: Haack On Wild Rice (7PM, WCHM). UW-Extension Natural Resource Educator John Haack will give a presentation on wild rice, the food that grows on water and is often harvested by canoe. This tall aquatic grass has provided nutritious food for humans in the Upper Midwest for the past 2,500 years. This presentation will highlight the growing, harvesting, and processing of wild rice as well as the historical significance of this fascinating plant. The WCHM presentation will begin at 7:00 PM and last about an hour. It will be preceded by a welcome reception in the museum exhibit hall for participants in the Upper Great Lakes Regional Canoe Assembly, and followed the next day by a paddle trip with John Haack to nearby rice areas on the Yellow River.

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Friday August 25, 2017

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Assembly Registration & Museum Exhibit Hall Open House (10AM-4PM, WCHM Exhibit Hall). Stop by the museum for a quick tour and to pick up your registration packet anytime during the regular museum open hours. If you haven’t pre-registered, you can do so now.


Paddle Trip: Ricing On The Yellow (10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Meet at Museum 9:00 AM). Sorry, this trip is now full. The Yellow River was called the “River Juane” by early French explorers because of the bright yellow sand on the bottom of Yellow Lake through which it flows. The river offers stream and lake canoeing with a slow to moderate current and a few gentle rapids. There is excellent fly fishing, canoeing or kayaking on the Yellow River as it flows out of Spooner Lake in Washburn County, through Burnett County, which then meets the St. Croix in Danbury. Wildlife is abundant; most common is the white-tail deer and numerous varieties of waterfowl. John Haack, who gave the previous evening presentation on wild rice, will lead this paddle through a two mile stretch that will include a ricing demonstration and discussion on wild rice and the ecology of the river. Expect a 1.5 to 2 hour trip. Meet at the museum in Spooner one hour before start time for coffee and doughnuts and to organize shuttles. The trip is limited to six canoes so we suggest reserving a spot.


Tour: The Fish Hatchery (10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Meet at Museum at 9:30 AM for coffee and doughnuts). The Wisconsin DNR’s Spooner Fish Hatchery is the largest cool water hatchery in the state. More Muskie are produced in this hatchery than anywhere else in the world.  A bonus for birders is the number of ospreys, eagles, and other predatory birds attracted to the ponds. They also have a wonderful visitor’s center which has interactive learning stations that are informational and fun for the kids. We’ve arranged for Assembly visitors to have a guided tour of the facilities. And you’ll be back in time for the afternoon paddle.

 

Paddle: Birchwood Primitive Areas (1PM-5PM, Meet at Museum 12PM). Washburn County has two primitive canoe routes in a primitive area with little to no development that provide a unique opportunity for a quiet, back country experience. Many refer to this area as their "mini boundary waters" due to the amount of glacial lakes and the solitude that they find when exploring this little-known gem. The canoe route areas lie within heavily forested, rolling topography with a high density of small glacial lakes. These lakes are land locked deep soft water lakes with steep banks and wooded shores. Bass and Panfish are abundant. Terry Koehn will be your guide through a canoe trail system. Some short portages may be included. Meet at the museum in Spooner one hour before start time to organize shuttles. The trip is limited to six canoes so we suggest reserving a spot.


Tour: The Fish Hatchery (2:00 PM, Meet at the Museum 30 minutes prior). If you missed this in the morning, or were out on the morning paddle, you can still catch the tour of this great facility. See the details listed for the 10:00 AM tour.

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Saturday August 26, 2017

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Assembly Registration (9AM-11AM, Shell Lake Memorial Park, Picnic Shelter). If you missed picking up your registration packet on Thursday and Friday you can do so on Saturday in Shell Lake at memorial Park, site of the Assembly of Wooden Canoes & Boats. Look for the us near the picnic shelter. You can get your 2017 UGLRCA shirt there too!


Assembly of Wooden Canoes & Boats (10AM-4PM, Shell Lake Memorial Park, Lawn Area Under The Trees). We invite you to display your canoes and canoe related items of all types, classic and modern, plus wooden boats of all shapes, sizes, and designs, and classic and vintage water and paddling related items of interest. Our theme this year is the Shell Lake Boat Company, so we would especially like to see any Shell Lake boats and paraphernalia. There will be prizes for best of show in several categories. The exhibit fee is $20 for private or commercial exhibitors and free for non-profit exhibitors. See additional details on the boat show registration form.

 

Dry-Land Workshops


11:00 AM (Shelter Building). Restoration of the Morris Rowing Canoe. Dave Osborn of Little Lakes Canoe Restoration (littlelakescanoe.com) in Boulder (WI), will discuss and answer questions about his restoration of a rare 1912 BN Morris rowing canoe, one of only three or four known made. The canoe has since been put on display at the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum. The Morris Company was responsible for a turning point in the development of recreational canoeing when they took the wood and canvas canoe from something built entirely by hand with hand tools to something built using machinery, and helped spark the “canoe craze” in early 20th century America. Osborn’s restoration carefully retains as much as possible of the original features and design.


12:00 PM (Workshop Tent). Birchbark Canoe Demonstration. Ferdy Goode, from Woodruff (WI), is spending a life following his passion to keep alive and create a variety of traditional Native-style items including birch bark canoes, paddles, snowshoes and baskets. “I am proud and honored to be part of a very small guild of master birch bark canoe builders and basket makers who keep alive the almost extinct traditional techniques of hand crafting these vessels,” says Goode, who has gained a national reputation as a builder of exquisite designs using Native American tribal methods. In this workshop he will share some of the secrets of his craft.


1:00 PM (Shelter Building). Critters with John Haack. Frogs, toads and slithering salamanders- join us and learn fun facts about these amazing lake and wetland creatures.  John Haack, University of Wisconsin-Extension Regional Natural Resource Educator will introduce you to the sounds, sights and habitats of these common but often unnoticed creatures that live in and around our backyards.  A few frogs and salamanders will be on hand for show and tell.

 

1:00 PM (Workshop Tent). Paddle Carving Workshop. Alex Comb of Stewart River Boatworks (stewartriver.com) in Knife River (MN) will demonstrate some of the various techniques used to make custom designed canoe paddles. Stewart River Boatworks is a premier builder of wood and canvas canoes, wooden kayaks and lapstrake row boats. All boats are hand crafted by Alex Comb who has been building wooden boats professionally since 1979.


2:00 PM (Shelter Building).  History of the Shell Lake Boat Company. Andreas Rhude is the founder and President of the Thompson Antique & Classic Boat Rally (www.facebook.com/ThompsonAntiqueClassic BoatRallyInc) in Marinette (WI). He has also done research and published articles on the history of the Shell Lake Boat Company, which is being featured at this Assembly. Andreas will give a short presentation on this local companie’s history, and then lead a discussion and answer period.


2:00 PM (Workshop Tent). Building Wooden Canoe Seats and Thwarts. Jerry Karbon is a long-time WCHA member and recently served as head of the Great Rivers Chapter for the past 10 years. He’s been building and restoring wooden canoes for more than 30 years. In this session, he’ll talk about how to layout and build canoe seat frames and cane them using pre-woven cane or the traditional hand caning method. He’ll discuss and display the tools needed and demonstrate how to layout and shape wooden canoe thwarts. Whether restoring old seats and thwarts or starting from scratch, you should be able to pick up a few tips to make your task easier, more enjoyable and successful.

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On-Water Demos & Games

 

11:00 to 11:45 AM (Lakefront Pier). Paddling Strokes & Techniques. Alex Comb of Stewart River Boatworks (stewartriver.com) in Knife River (MN) will demonstrate the basic relationship between the paddle and the canoe and how to make your canoe obedient with simple, basic strokes. This workshop is for experienced and beginning paddlers alike.


12:30 to 2:00 PM (Lakefront Pier). Sail Your Canoe. Mike Johnson, former President of the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum, will demonstrate and offer rides in a Walter Walker sailing canoe from the museum exhibit hall. Walker was one of the last builders employed by the Peterborough Canoe Company in Ontario, one of Canada’s oldest and largest canoe companies formed in the 19th century. Johnon will also talk about the required gear and accessories to convert a canoe into a sailboat.


2:00 to 4:00 PM (Lakefront Pier). Canoe Games. Bring your own canoe and equipment for this one. Barry Christenson, WCHA Minnesota Chapter Chair, will be organizing a number of on-water canoe games, such as the “blind paddler” or the “no paddle race.”

The Trading Blanket

 

3:00 PM (Workshop Tent). The Trading Blanket. Join us from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the workshop tent area for a canoeing related trading blanket, reminiscent of the rendezvous of times past when folks laid out blankets on the ground and displayed items for trade. This informal get together provides a venue for Assembly participants to buy, sell, trade or barter their personal canoeing and related gear. 

 

Do you have a paddle or two lying around that you never use? They might be just what someone else is looking for. Maybe a PFD you’ve outgrown?  Oh, yeah, and those canoe seats and thwarts you built, but never used because you never got around to building the canoe. How about other camping paraphernalia, cooking and eating utensils, sleeping bags, blankets, and tents? In short, appropriate fare is just about anything one might use in canoeing, canoe camping and associated activities.

The Parade of Canoes


Paddle By & Salute (7:30 PM, Shell Lake Memorial Park, Waterfront Dock Area). Please join us for the parade of canoes on the waterfront at 7:30 pm. Sign up your boat before 5:00 pm at the WCHM booth to participate in this traditional Assembly of Canoes event, then assemble with your canoe at the waterfront dock area by 7:10 pm, and be ready to launch canoes at 7:20 pm. As you pass the viewing area an announcer will read the description you provide of your canoe and its occupants. We’ll finish up with a “paddles up” salute and group photo. Period costumes are encouraged.

Where To Find Us

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Set your compass for 312 N Front St in Spooner WI. For more information about WCHM or the 2017 Upper Great Lakes Regional Canoe Assembly on August 24-26 in Spooner and Shell Lake, Wisconsin, call 715-635-2479 or write to info@wisconsincanoeheritagemuseum.org. For nearby motel lodging we recommend Spooner Riverplace at 715-635-9770. For camping, travel, or other lodging information contact the Washburn County Tourism Association at 800-367-3306.


Click here for a map.

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For Camping Reservations at Shell Lake Memorial Park

Sites are $30/night. Contact WCHM Executive Director Jed Malischke at 715-635-2479 or info@wisconsincanoeheritagemuseum.org as soon as possible as the number of sites is limited.

Be An Assembly Participant

You are invited to participate in the Upper Great Lakes Regional Canoe Assembly (UGLRCA) of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) in Shell Lake and Spooner, Wisconsin. A variety of activities has been planned starting Thursday August 24 and running through Saturday August 26. You can download a participant registration package below. It will tell you what, where and when everything is happening, and you can use it make reservations for paddles, tours, presentations, and more. You can print and mail it, or fill it out electronically and email it in.

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Download a Full Assembly Participant Registration Package Here

Be An Assembly Exhibitor

We invite you to display your canoes and canoe related items of all types, classic and modern, plus wooden boats of all shapes, sizes, and designs, and classic and vintage water and paddling related items of interest. Our theme this year is the Shell Lake Boat Company, so we would especially like to see any Shell Lake boats and paraphernalia. There will be prizes for best of show in several categories. The exhibit fee is $20 for private or commercial exhibitors and free for non-profit exhibitors.

To regsiter as an exhibitor you can download the Full Assembly Registration Packet above, or use our online Quick Exhibitor Registration Form.