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Great Lakes Article:

Quiet Water Symposium creates quite a ruckus among enthusiasts
By Elizabeth Shaw
The Flint Journal
eshaw@flintjournal.com 810.766.6311
Published March 10th, 2005

EAST LANSING - Paddle sports were only part of the story at the 10th annual Quiet Water Symposium, held Saturday on the Michigan State University campus.

While canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts found plenty to explore at the indoor celebration, symposium planners managed to stretch the event's boundary waters far beyond the expected.

A leisurely amble through the MSU Agriculture Pavilion revealed an intriguing array of outdoor pursuits, from primitive skills to dog sledding and environmental activism.

Nearly hidden in a back corner, Patrick McFatridge of Clio squatted cross-legged on an animal skin rug, patiently flicking a Stone Age version of a lighter - a fire piston used by South Seas islanders 2,000 years ago.

His display of ancient arrowheads and artifacts was among several primitive culture exhibits from groups such as the Great Lakes Primitives, Michigan Flint Knappers and Michigan Atlatl Association.

In the next aisle, Lucinda Means of Lansing stood behind a row of bicycles, handing out shoreline route maps for Michigan bike tours.

Gary O'Boyle of Flushing, meanwhile, was busy introducing people to the new, high-tech sport of geocaching, where modern-day treasure hunters seek hidden caches using GPS receivers.

"We've tried to expand to draw more people, but it's also because we realize people who canoe or kayak are the same people who care about the environment or do a variety of outdoor activities," said Nancy Anderson of the Lansing Oar and Paddle Club, one of the symposium's organizers.

There was plenty of evidence that women are being recognized as a rapidly growing segment of the outdoor community.

"The latest studies show that at least 50 percent of kayakers are women, which is almost unheard of in outdoor sports," said Nancy Thornton of the American Canoe Association. "But one of the biggest struggles for women is finding someone to kayak with.

"That's why manufacturers and others are realizing the need to market to women."

In all, nearly 1,000 people attended the event, Anderson said.

On the Web:

Quiet Water Symposium: www.homestead.com/qws.

 

 

 

 

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