For anyone near southwestern Pennsylvania interested in solo canoes and the skills of paddling them, or for the chance to see and test paddle many different models (mostly solo but there are sometimes a few tandems), this is a great annual get together. No fee for attending (tomorrow is the deadline to order a fundraising tee shirt) but the Cooper’s Lake campground that provides the site (with a small pond and large picnic shelter), charges a modest day fee for attendees and for overnight camping.
Very nice folks in attendance as well as several canoe makers including Hemlock (formerly Curtis), Swift, Savage River and Stewart River. The on site pond is tiny, but fine for test paddling and getting some expert tips on technique from helpful mentors. There are demonstrations of FreeStyle paddling, organized presentations on canoe history and lots of opportunities for socializing and relaxing.
The campground is only minutes from vast Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park if you want to head over there for a more extensive paddle (you do need to have a PA launch permit to paddle there but those are available at the ranger station on the south shore). The campground is shady and pleasant and they have a large camp store. Located near where Interstates 80 and 79 intersect about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh.
I headed there the year after I got a vintage Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe (figuring that might become a more practical option than the SINKs as I progressed into geezerhood.) But I was struggling with my single blade paddling technique. At WPSCR I got great one-on-one coaching, including from the fellow from whom I had bought the canoe and from Dave Curtis himself, who had designed and built the very boat 35 years ago!
Many attendees are generous about allowing others to try out their personal boats so it’s a rare opportunity to get the feel of a range of hulls.