The LowCountry Paddlers, (LCP), is a canoe and kayak club based in Charleston, SC.
The club was formed in the late 1980's as an outlet for folks who wanted to get together and share time on the lowcountry's beautiful rivers and estuaries. It was sponsored by the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission, (CCPRC), and members of the Club provided the safety staff for the PRC outdoor recreation program's water-based trips.
Initially the club was filled with canoeists, but then kayaking became much more popular and people began buying kayaks and recreational boats with which to explore the waterways. The club now has quite a variety of boats on the water and when we paddle together it's quite a site!
The PRC and LCP have both grown a great deal and now exist independently of one another. However, ties between the two are still very strong. Club meetings are held the third Monday of each month from 7:00pm to about 8:30pm. We meet eleven months out of the year, skipping December. Meetings are held at North Charleston High School at 1087 Montague Avenue in North Charleston. We usually have a guest speaker who gives a presentation on topics relating to paddling and our environment. (Due to a large amount of club business, however, we will not have a speaker again until July, 2002).
We run a monthly trip the Saturday following the meeting to a destination voted on by club members each quarter. Exceptions to that occur during April, due to ECCKF, and November, due to Thanksgiving. Trips for those months will be changed to dates voted on by members. The monthly trips are all day trips on blackwater rivers or lakes with options in some months to camp out either before or after the paddle. They are typically under 10 miles round trip and include plenty of wildlife viewing and snacking breaks. We host several events during the year which non-members may attend. There is an Oyster Roast in January and a Pig Roast in the fall, for example. We also have a large picnic/paddling trip in the summer to Lake Moultrie.
We have just begun to offer more intermediate trips for club members who wish to paddle more challenging routes or longer distances. An example is a trip to Capers Island, just south of Bull Island in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Area. On trips such as these, the trip leaders will only allow members with whom they have had prior paddling experience. These trips are more advanced and may encounter conditions which beginning paddlers would find difficult. These trips occur randomly throughout the year and will be voted on and planned by Club members.
The LowCountry Paddlers is a member of the American Canoe Association, (ACA), which provides the Club with liability insurance. Upon joining the Club, new members will be asked to sign a waiver, or hold harmless agreement, that is kept on file with the Club Treasurer. Prospective members may paddle with the club on two trips for free, then will be asked to pay $5.00 per trip which is sent to the ACA for insurance. Each non-member will need to sign the waiver before joining a trip. Membership dues are $27.00 for a single membership and $38.00 for a family at the same address. With your paid membership you receive a LowCountry Paddlers T-shirt, a copy of the Club By-Laws, Rules and Regulations, (currently undergoing revision), membership in the Club and membership in the ACA. Of those dues, $15.00 for single and $18.00 for family is sent to the ACA. Normal dues to ACA are $25.00 and $40.00, respectively. ACA membership entitles you to a year's subscription to Paddler magazine and affiliation with the largest organized paddling community in the world. Check out their website at http://www.acanet.org/acanet.htm.