We are an active group who love outdoor activities. Since the club was founded back in 1973, members have gotten together in winter for cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, hiking and boating. The New Yearâs Day paddle has been a tradition for a long time. We usually do a short paddling trip on New Yearâs and enjoy the challenge of having a great time while also staying warm. Look for us in cold-weather gear on Tulpehocken Creek, on the Schuylkill River or at Blue Marsh Lake.
HIKES Anytime we are not paddling, we may be found hiking the byways around Berks County. We enjoy many trails at Blue Marsh, for instance, and also hike Nolde Forest, the Bartram Trail near Hamburg, the Pinnacle Trail, various trails at Lake Ontelaunee, Neversink Mountain trails and many other places.
POOL SESSIONS Itâs a wonderful thing to have access to the clean, warm waters of our local high school pool in wintertime. We often have 17-20 boaters practicing their roll, playboating or just stretching their boating muscles after a long layoff. Participants must be a KCC club member and also choose one of the categories of ACA membership. The cheapest way to go is the $5 âEvent Membershipâ or you can join for $30 individual or $40 family for a full year. Boats must be clean, so plan on taking them to the carwash or hose them out to flush out the stinkbugs, leaves and assorted debris. Check the dates on our message board. Usually we have six sessions, with an alternate, held at Muhlenberg High School in Laureldale, just off the 5th St. highway. Sessions are 6-8 PM.
PADDLING SKILLS We hold a Beginners Boating Workshop in mid-July, 1-4 PM through Berks Parks and Recreation, at the Stilling Basin below Blue Marsh Dam. The cost is minimal, and registration is through Berks Parks and Recreation. Ages 10-adult. Learn the basics of strokes, safety, clothing and try out various boats. Contact: 610-374-2944 to register.
SUMMER PICNIC We really enjoy paddling out to a quiet location and having a potluck picnic. Whatever paddlers bring, we share. Usually thereâs a grillmeister who serves up delicious burgers and hotdogs too. Locations may include launching at Gibraltar and picnicking at an island about an hour downstream. Then we take out at Union Township. Other locations may be at a state park such as Marsh Creek or at Blue Marsh Lake.
TRIPS We are a varied group of paddlers who enjoy all sorts of boating venues. Our members include whitewater boaters, sea kayakers, canoe paddlers, flatwater enthusiasts, stand up paddleboarders and kayak fishermen. Some paddlers simply canât choose any one aspect of the sport, and enjoy paddling anytime, anywhere in any boat possible. Our trip schedule comes out usually at the beginning of March and offers a wide variety of trips that may be local (Schuylkill River, Lehigh River, Tulpehocken Creek), or may be in surrounding states. Rivers in the NJ Pinelands, Delaware River, Prime Hook DE, Chesapeake Bay, New York state, Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Lake Erie and many other places are favorites. Trip leaders are listed as contact persons for each trip on the schedule.
MEETINGS We meet in March, April, May, September, October, November at Muhlenberg Township Recreation Building off River Road, which is an exit off Rte. 12. Most of those meetings have an interesting program with a boating or conservation theme. After the program, we have a short business meeting. Meetings are 7:30-9 PM, usually but not always on the fourth Tuesday of the month. The November meeting is usually moved back a week because of Thanksgiving, for instance. In December, we do not have a regular meeting, but we have a Christmas party. The date of the party can vary. Check our Event/Trip Schedule for times, locations and special information about our meetings, workshops and trips throughout the year.
SOJOURN LUNCHEON We enjoy a special relationship with Schuylkill River Greenways, and try to help where we can. We serve the Monday luncheon during the Schuylkill River Sojourn, for instance. Our volunteers set up tables at Kerperâs Landing (Penske), bring special healthy salads, provide sandwiches, fruit, snacks, and drinks to refresh the tired and hungry paddlers on the Sojourn. Itâs a fun and worthwhile service which we enjoy doing. We do our part to help support the Sojourn to bring attention and publicity to Berks County, particularly the Schuylkill River. Eventually such projects result in improved funding for special projects that benefit our entire area.
GET OUTDOORS DAY Another special relationship that we enjoy is with the folks at Blue Marsh Lake. They organize a special day in mid-June for local organizations to display their information to the public. We participate by handing out our brochures, answering questions, and providing an informational program about an aspect of boating. During the event, we also lead a paddle out on Blue Marsh Lake for anyone with their own boat.
SPECIAL CLINICS AND WORKSHOPS Keystone Canoe Club sponsors special clinics and workshops, depending on need and interest. Each year is different: a SeaKayaking Rescue clinic, a Whitewater Skills Series, First Aid Workshop and other events may be scheduled from time to time. Check the Event/ Trip Schedule and our Message Board for more information.