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Annual Canoe Adventure showing off canal

7/3/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Shown are participants during a past Canoe Adventure.
Photo courtesy of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition
GREATER AKRON — The Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition’s (OECC) annual Canoe Adventure (formerly known as the Cargill Canoe Adventure) will take place July 12 this year.

George Ebey, project and strategic initiatives coordinator for OECC, said the adventure is a popular event because it offers participants the chance to take a rare ride on the canal.

“The Canoe Adventure is a very unique opportunity to get on a canoe in an area that’s not very common,” he said. “Now, most people canoe on lakes and in rivers, but this is a canal. This is an actual historic resource. This is something that was created by hand and helped to propel the state of Ohio to becoming a well-populated state. The uniqueness of it makes this something special to do.”

According to Ebey, participants will go on a tour of the canal led by a guide leader.

“The tour is semi-interpretive, which means we like to talk about the canal history and you will get to see different things along the way and learn about the heritage,” he said. “We always get plenty of people and people really enjoy it. It is a very well-attended event.”

Ebey said the OECC has capped the maximum number of people who can sign up for the adventure at 100.

“Logistically, that’s the best number in terms of how many people we can support on the canal, along with the renting of the boats and the shuttling of the people,” he stated. “That’s about the maximum amount of people we can handle with the staff we have and the resources we have.”

Each canoe seats two adults and Ebey said the preference is for people to sign up in pairs of two.

“We’re looking for 100 people and there are 50 canoes to accommodate those people,” he said. “People typically sign up in pairs, and we do prefer that. But if somebody is a single and they’d like to participate, we will try to pair them with somebody else who signed up as a single. Canoes aren’t really the best things to be on when you are out there by yourself, though. They are hard to control for just one person. We need everyone to stay in a group and it would be hard for a one-person canoe to keep up with the group. Plus, with the expense of renting the boats, it’s just more economical to have two riders in each canoe.”

The cost for this program is $30 for OECC members or $40 for nonmembers. Children younger than 12 can ride in a canoe with two adults at an additional cost of $15. Lunch, water and all necessary equipment are provided and are included in the cost, Ebey said.

“The goal of this event is two-fold,” he stated. “It is a fundraiser for our organization, but more than that it is what we consider to be an educational event. It is an event to get people out there using a resource and to get them interested and excited about the canal’s history. That’s really the top focus.”

Participants are asked to meet at The Richard Howe House no later than 8 a.m. on the day of the event, he said.

“What we will do then is to trolley people in groups from The Richard Howe House to Lake Nesmith, which is where we get on the water. From the lake, we will enter the canal,” Ebey said. “Usually, we are back to The Richard Howe House between 11 or 11:30 a.m., and what we do then is have a picnic lunch at The Richard Howe House. People are usually done with their lunch and on their way by 12 or 12:30.”

According to Ebey, the Canoe Adventure is a rain-or-shine event and he suggests participants “just dress comfortably for that day’s weather.”

“I definitely recommend sunscreen,” he said. “Usually, shorts and a T-shirt are fine this time of year, and maybe a hat, because you will be out on the water for a couple of hours.”

The deadline to register is July 6, Ebey said, but if spots still remain after that day, it may still be possible to sign up.

To sign up, visit www.ohioeriecanal.org or call 330-374-5657.

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