The Path of the Paddle
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River Experience
River rocker

Canoeing or kayaking on rivers with no more than Class 2 rapids.  The Stillwater experience is REQUIRED for Scouts going for the River experience. This experience is strongly recommended for Scouts before attempting the Whitewater experience, in order to learn and practices the skills needed to handle their craft before encountering resiours rapids.

When this Experience is completed, the Scout should be able to perform:
- Eddy in / Eddy out
- Upstream and downstream ferries
- Paddle signals
- Braces
- Moving-water rescues of canoeists

Scouts who complete the River experience should be ready to complete the canoe-handling requirements of Whitewater Merit Badge.

Suggested sites:
California: American River, Russian River, Sacramento River

Suggested Guide Companies:
California: Canoe West

Planning your Path of the Paddle Outings:

Planning is critical to a safe Paddlesports outing of any kind.  As with any High Adventure outing, the Scouts and the leaders must be trained before setting out.  The Guide to Safe Scouting must be read and followed.

All Scouts must have passed the  Second Class Swimming and First Aid requirement and the First Class Swimming and First Aid Requirements
All Scouts and leaders must follow the practices of the BSA Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat programs, in regards to training, preparation, equipment, etc.  Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat training are available online at the E-Learning section of

At least one leader must have completed Paddlesports Awareness High Adventure Training through the Mount Diablo- Silverado Council, or an equivalent program through another BSA Council.

The transportation plan for the outing should allow sufficient time for the adults who are driving to rest before beginning the return trip.  Please read the Risk Zone information in the  Guide to Safe Scouting.

Note on Outfitters, Guides, and Rental Agencies.

The Boy Scouts of America and the Mount Diablo-Silverado Council do not attempt to recommend or rank any commercial  Outfitters, Guides, and Equipment Rental Agencies.     All such companies and individuals mentioned here are done so as a point of reference only.  It is up to the individual unit to make sure that any outside company has adequate insurance, properly-maintained equipment, trained personnel, first-aid training and supplies, etc. 

Conservation and Advocacy, Organizations and Clubs

Note: The Boy Scouts of America does not control content on these organizations' websites.  Please look them up for information.

American Canoeing Association:  education, training, stewardship
American Kayak Association
Dreamflows: daily flow information on Western rivers
Friends of the River: Conservation and protection of the rivers of California.
National Outdoor Leadership School, home of many educational programs and resources.
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics 

Last update:  11/2/08