I have over 50 years of paddling experience, first in canoes and later in kayaks. In fact, I come from a family with a long history of paddling. Evan Gerrish, one of my ancestors, was one of the first builders of wood and canvas canoes in North America.
Since 1986, I have paddled many of the lakes and rivers in Oregon and led tours for groups of paddlers. I am currently a paddle trip leader for a local riverkeeper organization and teach canoe and kayak rescues.
I started paddling in Oregon in the mid-1980s when there were few paddling organizations in the state, and most of those were focused on whitewater paddling. Since then, more paddling organizations have cropped up, but most are still focused on whitewater paddling.
Oregon is filled with many beautiful places to paddle. Unfortunately, unless you have a copy of either Canoe and Kayak Routes of Northwest Oregon or Oregon's Quiet Waters, there is very limited information on places in which to paddle that are suitable to new paddlers and families.
Many first-time paddlers purchase their boats from big-box stores where the salespeople lack the knowledge to properly equip paddlers with the correct gear. The result is some paddlers find paddling unpleasant because they've purchased the wrong boat or paddle. They may not have even been sold all the proper equipment they need to paddle safely.
I formed Canoe & Kayak Oregon in 2013 to address the lack of information available to new or inexperienced paddlers. Paddling, when done safely, is a great sport that allows you to get close to nature. I want you to enjoy your experiences safely on Oregon's waters, so I hope you'll find this site useful.