Fasten gear into the boat, and always plan for the possibility of capsizing and getting wet.

Know that the steering is done from the stern (back) and the bow (front) paddler provides power.

Know that normal stern strokes on the right will turn the boat left, and vice-versa.

Look far ahead, and move the canoe to the proper river position long before passing an obstacle.

Keep maneuvering room between your boat and others.

If in doubt about paddling safely past an obstacle, go to shore and portage around it.

Know where your trip ends, and some landmarks along the way.


If you swamp your canoe, first make sure all canoeists are safe. Then make sure you do not lose the canoe or paddles -since they are your means of return. Last, recover other gear.

A canoe full of water weighs more than a car, but will still float. Maneuver the boat to shallow water. Never get it into water immediately upstream of an obstacle. You must roll the flooded canoe onto its side in shallow water, then slowly lift to allow water to run out. When enough water is out, try to pull the boat onto the shore. Once completely emptied by turning the canoe upside down on land, put the canoe back into the river, load up your gear, and continue down the river.


Always honestly evaluate your river skills before beginning a trip. If you have started and you find the conditions become more than you wish to handle, paddle or float to the nearest river-access point, get yourself and your gear well out of the river, and get help.

If you do get into a hazardous river situation that you are unable to solve by yourself, each canoe has our name and phone number attached to it. If you can access a phone in the event of an emergency, call first. further instructions and contact the appropriate emergency services for you. If you have no phone, notify any passing boater to let us know of your situation.


We encourage you to stop at sandbars to have a picnic lunch, to trade places in the canoe, or just to take a break from paddling. If you do make such stops along this federally protected riverway, make sure you take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.