MARQUETTE - Ask any member of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association what the best way to experience the water is, and you'll get one answer - in a canoe.
The Upper Peninsula Chapter of the WCHA held an assembly of canoes Saturday at the Marquette Yacht Club, showcasing different types of birchbark, canvas and wood strip canoes, all hand-made and many of historical value.
"We have such a wonderful area to paddle in," said chapter head Kathy Kloss.
enthusiasts got the chance to celebrate
the wooden canoe during an assembly organized by the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association Saturday. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
With chapters all over the world, Kloss said the groups' activities vary based on the interests of the members, but all promote the preservation of wooden canoes.
Around 15 canoes were shown at the assembly, ranging from historical canoes that had been restored to newly-made craft.
"They're quiet," said Scotter Schieler, a WCHA member from Marquette. "Aluminum canoes, it's all boom, boom, boom, boom. Wood canoes are almost silent in the water."
Schieler began building wooden canoes in the 1980s and showed two of his canoes at the assembly, plus two pairs of hand-made snowshoes, which use many of the same techniques as canoe building.
"I love canoe paddling. It's my favorite thing," he said.
Each canoe takes around 800 hours of work to complete.
"There's nothing bought," Schieler said of his canoe-building process. "I'm a woodworker for a living. Snowshoes and canoes are just one aspect."
The assembly featured demonstrations on canvassing canoes, caning the seats for canoes and weaving Adirondack-style pack baskets. The day finished with a sunset canoe parade from Presque Isle.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.