ACA ATLANTIC DIVISION
OPEN CANOE SLALOM
COMMITTEE
ACA Atlantic Division Open Canoe Slalom Committee Chairman

Keech T. LeClair

Race Site Camping
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SLALOM RACING


Reasons for Providing On-Site Car Camping Areas at Whitewater Race Sites
In the several disciplines of whitewater competition paddling, (slalom, rodeo, and wildwater to name a few), the competitors for the most part have limited budgets. Race sites that do not offer on-site camping pose a hardship on the competitors from financial as well as a physical point of view.
Even members of the US National teams, don't get much financial support from their national governing body and are usually students or are training fulltime. In either case they are unable to spend much, if anything, for accommodations. Most of the time they live out of their car, camper or pick-up truck. After the cost of boats, equipment and entry fees, the next most expensive commodity for paddlers is fuel for their vehicle to get to the races. Food is a distant third. Paying for accommodations is just out of the question.
Open boaters tend to include their families when the travel to a national race. There are classes that include youngsters and mom as well as dad, so much of the time, the whole family attends the event. The cost of motel/hotel accommodations is prohibitive for this many people and camping off site is too complicated especially if the mom is also in the competition and their small camper is their only transportation. At the past few national events about ninety percent of the attendees camped.
It's a real treat when paddlers at the local level can find a way to compete at a regional qualifier, team trails or National Championship. Most of the time these events are on rivers far from big cities where it is usually OK to pull your pickup truck into the parking area at the racecourse, put up a small tarp, sleep in the back and hang out for several days while participating in the race. Even motels are less expensive at these outlying areas for those that can afford the luxury. But now that there are courses closer to large cities where campgrounds and motels, B & B's and Hotels are some distance from the race site and cost a lot more. This may result in preventing a whole segment of paddlers from participating in these events because they just cannot afford it!
Paddlers really don't want drive at all after racing and being outside all day at a racecourse. The time it takes that it takes to commute at least 30-40 miles round trip each day to and from the racecourse is time lost from practicing, relaxing or sleeping.
The added benefit to having all or most of the paddlers camped at a race site, is that meetings can easily be scheduled for competitors in the evening with reasonable expectation that they all will attend. Additionally there is a huge social benefit to having most of the competitors camped in one spot at the race site. It makes the whole event a lot more enjoyable.
The environmental impact of all the competitors and non-competitors driving back and forth to off-site accommodations is significant. At a race that draws one hundred and ten competitors, which is about average, there will be at least one hundred vehicles driving an average of five round trips to their off-site accommodations. If the average distance to the off-site accommodations is 18 miles, the number miles driven by all the attendees equal 18,000! That translates into 900 gallons of gasoline and a cost to the attendees of $3300, and going up every day, not to mention the cost of the accommodations and the impact on the environment.
The inescapable conclusion is that offering on-site primitive car and RV camping is environmentally sound, cost effect and enhances the character of the event.


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ACA Atl Div Open Canoe Slalom Committee
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