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AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BLACKWATER PADDLERS

Our paddling club first saw the light of day in 1990...that’s 23 years ago! There was some excited anticipation regarding the fact that a group of Lakehead University students were slowly making their way in the direction of Quesnel as they marked the bicentennial of Alexander Mackenzie’s four year [1790-1793] odyssey across North America to the Pacific Ocean. Our club, known as the Dene Voyageur Heritage Society was formed and our group plunged headlong into the excitement of the Bicentennial celebrations.

Since that time we have continued to promote paddling in all of its forms in our community and area. Along the way our club assumed the handle Blackwater Paddlers.

The club is a community organization through which paddling trips, canoeing instruction and social events are co-ordinated. Informal evening paddles and weekend events are scheduled throughout the paddling season.

We are a member-club of the Recreational Canoeing Association of British Columbia. As such, paddling instruction facilitated by the Blackwater Paddlers focuses on canoeing in all of its forms -- flat water, moving water, solo, tandem and “big boat” instruction are offered by RCABC certified instructors. In addition, our group closely follows the time-proven paddling/safety standards and guidelines that have been established by the RCABC as well as maintaining a focus on the environment and our canoeing heritage. Through our membership in the RCABC we maintain a connection with the national paddling organization, Paddle Canada.

We live in a paddling paradise, right on one of the world’s greatest rivers, the mighty Fraser, within an hours drive of the singularly unique Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit, the famous West Road [Blackwater] heritage river of Alexander Mackenzie fame, literally hundreds of freshwater lakes, streams, ponds and marshes, and swift flowing mountain rivers. Our paddling “home” takes us through various geoclimatic regions and dramatic changes in elevation. Our backyard is home to the longest salmon migration route in the world, it is rich in fur trade and gold rush history, all of it linked together by our waterways.

While our primary focus is on the development and enjoyment of canoeing, we are a paddling club at heart. As such we encourage the involvement of all paddlers whether sitting in canoes or kayaks or standing on paddle boards in all of our outings, whether they be early season pool sessions, mid week flatwater or moving water evening paddles, weekend or extended overnight trips or brigades.

Our club celebrates very special occasions like the spring bird paddle on world famous Dragon Lake, welcoming the return of over 100 species of birds to and through our area, National and B.C. River’s Day focussing on the importance and integrity of our valuable waterways and special anniversaries that acknowledge and celebrate our paddling heritage and history. In addition we are stewards and work to ensure the safe and healthy access to all of our favourite paddling spots. And we are collaborators encouraging and supporting the development of new paddling endeavours in our community like youth paddling programs and the local dragon boat club.

If you would like to join us or learn more about the Blackwater Paddlers, contact a member of the executive….or any member for that matter. Read the Schedule of Events and find an activity that you think would be for you and come out and enjoy. Feel free to call the contact person for each scheduled event if you have any questions. Why not come out to one of our social events like the spring social or the fall wind-up and AGM. The club also maintains a presence on Face book [Blackwater Paddlers] which is where you will find detailed member reports about outings, and a place where you can link up with others who share your interests and to view and post photos of our amazing area.