Book Report: Urban Ecology

We bumped into Ken Leinbach on our way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for our pre-season team backpacking trip. He is a leader making positive change in Wisconsin and beyond. Check out his book or the link below to learn more!


Book Title and Author: Urban Ecology by Ken Leinbach

Main idea of story: A quiet experiment in Milwaukee that is turning heads! It starts with getting a city kid to explore their neighborhood park and has the power to transform a city. This project can be replicated through the USA and beyond! Simply put – getting kids out into nature can positively change the world!

Main characters in the book:

This is a community project that is open to everyone! Young or old, the more the merrier for this mission!

Something unique and interesting about the story/book for readers to know: Check out their website!

Favorite part of the story/book and why: Favorite part must be page 252 – This has a big picture of our friend Ken detailing some of his amazing life experiences which he puts into action in a positive way!

Was this book entertaining, educational, amusing, etc?: This book details a fun Wisconsin project that is impacting children for the better! It is very educational and insightful!

Would you recommend this book?: Yes! If you are interested in learning about a local Wisconsin community project you should check this out!


PS – Thanks for the note and autograph, Ken!

50th Anniversary of Wild & Scenic Rivers Act

As Canoecopia 2018 concludes we wanted to share insight into one of the overarching themes presented – the Celebration of the Wild & Scenic River Act’s 50th Anniversary!
The Fox River does not fall under this classification, but other efforts throughout our community are continuing to clean, protect, and promote our precious waterways.

Check out the Act below or click the link to learn more! Through the link you will find an interactive map indicating the rivers currently protected in Wisconsin and throughout our Nation!


It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Congress declares that the established national policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes. (Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968)

Thank You! See You in 2018!

Thank you for a great kayaking season! Our shuttle and kayaks are packed up and ready to be stored for the colder months!
Online booking is open for 2018 & gift cards and t-shirts can be purchased throughout the entire year! We will be checking our emails and voicemail periodically, so do not hesitate to reach out!

Kayaking Merit Badge

As Autumn solstice arrives, officially ending the 2017 Summer at 3:02PM Wisconsin time, we are proud to make an exciting announcement!


We kayak a lot! We mean A LOT! But everyone must start somewhere and first times for anything can be nerve racking! Whether you’re preparing for your first kayaking adventure or you just want to gain more experience on the water we are always happy to support you, and here is one more way we are doing so!

We are confirmed Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge Counselors for:

  • B.S.A. Kayaking Merit Badge
  • B.S.A. Stand-Up Paddle Board Award

Let us tell you, it took a considerable amount of paperwork, training, and planning, but it definitely is all worth it and we send a BIG THANK YOU to Bay-Lakes Council for their guidance in the process!

For our local troop leaders, you can see our listing and contact details by following these 3 easy steps:

Step 1 Go to

Step 2 Click the ‘About Us’ tab. Go to Districts. Click ‘Gathering Waters District’.

Step 3 Under ‘District Forms’ you will find a password protected list named ‘Gathering Waters District Merit Badge Database’.


We recommend reading the full Kayak Merit Badge booklet, but to review the badge requirements feel free to download the PDF seen here  – – – B.S.A. – Kayaking

Guest Blog – American Cancer Society

This week we are excited to give the spot light to our local chapter of the American Cancer Society! In October we will be supporting them with a fundraiser excursion – check out the poster to learn more! Enjoy their article below to learn how we can all make a positive change in our local community!




At the American Cancer Society, we’re on a mission to free the world from cancer. Until we do, we’ll be funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention. All so you can live longer — and better.

While most people know us for our research, we do so much more. We attack cancer from every angle. We promote healthy lifestyles to help you prevent cancer. We research cancer and its causes to find more answers and better treatments. We fight for lifesaving policy changes. We provide everything from emotional support to the latest cancer information for those who have been touched by cancer. And we do it all 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Everything the American Cancer Society does benefits everyone right here in our communities. The American Cancer Society provides the funds for cutting-edge research that can leads to better treatments for people in our neighborhoods. We advocate for better laws to help people in our state threatened by cancer. We’re in every community providing people with free information and services – when they need it most. Only the American Cancer Society has the scope and expertise to take this comprehensive approach to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. So when some of the money raised helps a researcher in another state investigate a new cancer treatment or to fund the development of a new program or service, everyone in our community still benefits. It is hard to associate a number with some of the things the American Cancer Society has done to help the Fox Valley community, like the number of people affected by the smoking ban in restaurants and bars or the exact number of people that are being helped by a treatment discovered by and American Cancer Society funded researcher.

I am happy to share with you that in 2016, the American Cancer Society provided the services and programs below to cancer patients right here in the Fox Valley (Outagamie, Winnebago & Calumet counties):

210 free wigs & head coverings through our TLC program
187 nights of free lodging
64 women attended our Look Good Feel Better program
106 Personal Health Managers were provided to newly diagnosed patients
35 Reach to Recovery visits were provided to breast cancer patients
202 free rides were provided for cancer treatment
4 free airline flights were provided
183 patients served with general information & navigation

So weather you are a volunteer, participant in an event or donate to the American Cancer Society know that your money is truly going to make a difference in the lives of so many people. I encourage you to visit our website at for more information or to find out how you can get involved in helping us forward our mission of saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer.

Book Report: The Big Thirst

Book title and author: The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman

Main idea of story: The book explores the economic side of water, shining a light on and putting into perspective the necessity of water in our daily lives.

Main characters in the story: Many cases are presented throughout the book, in addition to research, studies and surveys. Fishman also presents compelling stories of leaders in the water industry.

Something unique and interesting about the story/book for readers to know: Fishman maintains a positive tone while discussing the often serious and disappointing subject of water scarcity. This book offers practical suggestions to change our attitude towards water and use less water without making drastic changes to our behavior!

Favorite part of the story/book and why: In Chapter 9, Fishman observes the widely varying cost of water in different cities and states, bringing examples of farmers getting water for next to nothing and Las Vegas residents paying relatively huge sums for their everyday water use. He dives into factors effecting water use and questions the status quo opinion about a “fair” price for water.

Was this book entertaining, educational, amusing, etc.?: Overall, the book is educational, but the stories and statistics are sure to keep the reader entertained.

Would you recommend this book? Without a doubt! Anyone with an interest in water and/or economics is sure to enjoy!


We aren’t the only ones who enjoyed the read! Check out what others had to say about the book below!


“Extensively researched yet highly readable … The most fascinating conclusion of The Big Thirst is that there is no global water crisis, but a lot of local water crises that can each be solved at the local level.”

  • The Miami Herald

“A captivating account … overflowing with stories large and small about water.”

  • The Wall Street Journal

“Is it all over for water? In this comprehensive, entertaining, and torrential flow of a book, journalist Charles Fishman answers with a definitive no … The Big Thirst is a key read … Informative and wide-ranging … a delight.”

  • Nature


If you’ve read The Big Thirst, we are happy to hear your thoughts! Until next time, keep reading and stay thirsty friends!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Labor Day weekend is here – the final long weekend of the year before kids head back to school and pumpkin spice season begins – oops, we mean autumn. The sun is shining and the water feels great, but before we get in our kayaks or fire up the grill, let’s take a moment to remember the history of Labor Day.

Labor Day has been an official National Holiday for over 100 years, but its roots trace back to New York in 1882. Although there is some dispute as to who founded Labor Day, recent research indicates that Matthew Maguire proposed the idea while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.


The idea was clearly supported, and the first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th of that year, when thousands of workers took unpaid time off to march in the first Labor Day parade. Two years later, Labor Day was officially created in New York City to be celebrated on the first Monday of September. Soon after, several other cities and states began adopting Labor Day. The holiday was created to appreciate and celebrate workingmen. From machinists to carpenters, these hard workers finally got a relaxing day off, which was especially uncommon during the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s.

In 1894, Labor Day became a national holiday to be celebrated every first Monday of September! Since then, hardworking Americans have been enjoying parades, recognition, barbecues, and a fun day to spend with family and friends. Whether you are spending your Labor Day relaxing inside or paddling through the Appleton Locks, we wish you a safe and fun weekend!

A Culture of Safety

We are talking about safety again!

Yeah, yeah, it may be boring to talk about, but we care about YOU and want everyone to enjoy the waterways safely so they can chat about their adventures later over a bonfire and s’mores, giggles and more!

Today we are going to focus on life vests [technically known as PFDs – Personal Flotation Device]. These things will save your LIFE – We always recommend wearing it! It’s like wearing a seatbelt in a car or a helmet on a bike!

Buoyancy is the force required to keep a person’s head and chin afloat above water. In general, adults need an extra 7 to 12 pounds of buoyancy to stay afloat [we recommend getting a child specific PFD for your little ones]. How much buoyancy you may require in the water varies depending on body weight and fat, lung size, clothing and water conditions (rough or calm).

Each PFD sold for recreational use is required to include a guide entitled “Think Safe – Choose the Right PFD”.  These pamphlets are tailored to the kind of PFD to which they are attached.

Not all PFDs are created equal. There are different classes for varying purposes. Check below for a quick break-down of the different classes!

Class I – Big and Buoyant

These “off shore life jackets” are bigger and bulkier than other PFDs, but they will keep someone floating face up for the longest period of time. They are designed for safety in deep, open waters before rescue teams can arrive.

Class II – The Industry Standard

The most common type of PFD. These are the standard life jackets that can be bought in many stores and are designed for use near shore on calm waters.

Class III – Floatation Aid

These PFDs are designed for boating and paddling activities. They offer buoyancy without sacrificing too much comfort and ease of movement. Recommended for use in calm waters.

Class IV – Throwable Devices

Cushions and buoys can be used as a backup PFD. They are useful to provide assistance to someone already swimming.

Class V – Specialty Devices

These are used primarily in occupational settings. Some incorporate buoyancy into deck suits or hybrid vests. Their designated use varies.

It’s not just about owning the right PFD, it’s also about wearing it properly! Always make sure that you follow the fitting instructions with your PFD, including fastening buckles, straps, and zippers. If you’re not wearing your PFD, it won’t do you any good.

PFDs can obtain natural wear and tear, so make sure you follow maintenance instructions, inspect it regularly, and test your PFD in a controlled setting.

Have any other questions? Check out our FAQ page or feel free to contact us!

Stay safe on the water!