SEPTEMBER COORDINATOR COLUMN 2020

Bill Smith
Bill Smith – Coordinator

With September comes the upcoming CPA elections. If you would like to become part of the decision making and give back to the club then consider running for office. The time commitment is usually minimal since other than the annual meeting and the planning meeting most of the business is done VIA email. New blood means new ideas.

I am so looking forward to the year of the apocalypse to be over so the regular and new CPA events can occur. I really miss having a full calendar of new and challenging events mixed with some of the old staples that make CPA what it is. If you have any ideas for new events you would like to see than consider volunteering to lead, you can always ask for a mentor or a fellow paddler to help out-we have many members who would love to help you out, CPA has a talent pool that is endless.  

One of the events I really miss is the KIPP (Kent Island Practice Paddles). KIPP is one of the old club staples created by Marshall Woodruff about 16 years ago, just an idea he had that he followed through with that turned into a major club event. Marshall will tell you how the first event was and how it has evolved into what it is today. I went on my first KIPP paddles about seven or eight years ago and was amazed at how it made me a much better paddler; I have completed the final KIPP three times and have at least paddled with the group part of the season ever since.

KIPP starts in April with an easy ‘get to know you’ paddle and gets a little tougher each month so the increase in distance is gradual. The first year I paddled with KIPP I had serious doubts that I would make the 34.6 mile circumnavigation of Kent Island but when the final KIPP came I was so pumped up I felt like I could have towed someone around the island. KIPP is not just learning distance and stamina but time is spent learning skills so KIPP is an all-around event that some people would spend a lot of money to achieve if they went to another source. The other plus to KIPP is the friendships/comradery you make with the other newbies and old time KIPPER’s. The KIPPER’s old and new are really a great bunch of people.

The other consequence of the KIPP paddles for me is I learned that Kent Island is not just a piece of land you cross on the way to the eastern shore but a great place to visit. The more I got to know Kent Island the more I liked it. I now have business interest on the island, so I spend several days per week on the island; crossing the bay bridge is like crossing into another world. The people are more laid back and friendlier, so it is easy to make new friends.  

Kent Island has an interesting history since it the site of the first English colony in Maryland; founded as a trading post to trade with the local tribes. Founded in 1631 and the third oldest English settlement in the country behind Jamestown, VA and Plymouth rock, Massachusetts. Kent Island is the largest island in the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to the English settlement the island was inhabited for over 12,000 years by the Matapeake Indian Tribe, members of the Algonquian nation. The area was also home to the Ozinie and Monoponson tribes which visited and traded with the Matapeake and later the English. The English founder, James Claiborne was from Jamestown, VA so he considered the island as part of Virginia until the state of Maryland claimed it as their own; Virginia disputed that claim until 1776 when it was officially deeded to the state of Maryland. To get to the island before 1952 you had to catch a ferry and then could jump on a train to destinations around the eastern shore; a train station was located in Stevensville with hardly a sign today that trains ever serviced the island. The eastern span of the bay bridge was opened in 1952 to two-way traffic and the western or west bound span opened in 1973. The island has been inhabited by waterman and farmers ever since the early days. One concerning fact about the island is it is shrinking, like most waterways in the bay. I was looking at a chart of Kent Island from 1896 which showed Parsons point (now Parsons Island, located several hundred yards offshore) and (Bodkin Point, located about ½ mile offshore). Parsons island once belonged to the McCormick spice family (island is still inhabited and used as a farm) while Bodkin island is just about nonexistent due to erosion except for a large colony of cormorants making the island smelly and not very appealing. Both these islands can be easily found after launching from Crab Alley, Kent Narrows or Goodhands with Crab Alley being the closest.

If you ever want to paddle from Kent Island, all Kent Island landings require a Queen Anne’s County permit, permits are 10.00 per day or 30.00 per year. Kent Narrows on the east side of the island is an interesting launch since standing waves and strong currents can be encountered in the passage.

 NOTE: Eastern Neck Island is an easy paddle from Kent Narrows with a three-mile crossing or a 50-mile drive from Kent Narrows making it another great paddle from Kent Island. Eastern neck Island is a 10-mile circumnavigation so paddling from Kent Narrows would make it a 16 mile round trip.

Hope to see everyone on the water, happy paddling!

Bill Smith

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