New Wild Rivers Chapter

Paul Miller

Canoe Nut

I wanted to pass on some information about the folks in Northern WI. that are forming a new chapter of the WCHA known as the Wild Rivers Chapter. Gary Peterson has been working on a great new museum project to house the Dean Canoe collection and I wanted to pass along the information he provided.

Notes from Gary:

It's spring in the Wisconsin Northwoods, and we're getting the Spooner wooden canoe museum up and running. To reflect the fact that the building/restoration shop will be the main visitor attraction of the project, the tentative name chosen is Wild Rivers Wooden Canoe Shop and Museum.

To form a cadre of knowledgeable volunteers to staff the shop/museum, we're forming a new Wild Rivers chapter of the WCHA. The initial meeting to form the chapter will be Sunday evening, June 8 at the impressive showroom and building shop of canoebuilder Dennis Williams a few miles south of Spooner.

If you'd be interested in coming up for the meeting, here are the details:

The meeting will be held at the showroom and shop of Dennis Williams on County Highway B one mile east of US Highway 53 near Sarona. If coming north on 53, continue a couple miles north of Sarona on 53, then turn east (right) on County B. Can't miss it—ain't nothin' but the biggest canoe shop in the county.

At 6 PM, anyone wishing to tour the feed-mill building that will be the home for the new museum will drive the few miles into Spooner and we'll go through the old feed mill building.

At 7 PM, we'll have a short business meeting to explain the WCHA and sign up people for the new local chapter.

No later than 8 PM, we'll head into Dennis' shop and canvas a canoe that will be all set to go in his stretcher. Those wishing to help with the canvassing should bring a staple gun (and maybe some cold beer?).

I've attached a few "before" pictures of the feed mill building in Spooner that is under renovation into the shop/museum. The two-story portion of the building is a massively built post-and-beam structure that will be the building/restoration shop. I'd call it a fair assumption that we have some serious work—and some serious fund-raising—ahead to renovate this diamond-in-the-rough into a first-class shop/museum!

While you're here, you may want to tour the Heartwood Resort ( on the Namekagon River at nearby Trego. We're hoping the WCHA board of directors will select this venue as the site of the 2009 Assembly.

And don't for to bring your favorite classic woody to paddle the Namekagon on Monday while you're here!

Gary Peterson

"When people figure out what's important in Life, there's gonna be a big shortage of canoes."