In the past, the typical Maine Outing Club’s (MOC) boating experience consisted of underwear and a bicycle helmet, sitting on top of a kayak with goosebumps from head to toe. But now, the MOC may have access to kayaks, shirts, paddles, helmets, personal floatation devices (PFDs) wetsuits and more, making the kayaking trips a little more comfortable.
On April 5, MOC announced the news on their Facebook page that they had received more funding from student government. With the river’s ice finally broken up, the news comes just in time for this year’s white water season. MOC will use the money to rent the gear from Maine Bound Adventure Center. Not only will they be able to accommodate more people, the thermal gear and wetsuits should extend the seasons.
“Thanks to our benevolent benefactors (student government) MOC has funds to rent out Whitewater Kayaks / Cold Water Gear for spring trips! Check here for updates on kayaking / sit-on-top / canoe / rafting trips on the Penobscot River right in town!”
MOC followed up with a comment on the post announcing that kayaking trips on the Penobscot will be held Monday through Wednesday. The rapids just below the Stillwater-Penobscot conflux are perfect for beginners because they are fairly small and not too intimidating.
The announcement came after a winter of heavy snowfall that has mostly ended the drought that left rivers and lakes several feet lower than normal, dried up wells, harmed fish populations and threatened the livelihood of paddle sport rental businesses on smaller rivers such as the Androscoggin.
Tom Gordon, a member of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry told the Portland Press Herald “snowstorms are adding moisture to the ground. We still have some dry areas along the New Hampshire border, but the situation is much improved.”
The Penobscot River doesn’t have this problem according to visitmaine.com’s whitewater page. “The season on the Penobscot and Kennebec begins in late April and ends in mid-October. Controlled daily dam releases from hydropower dams on these rivers guarantee water levels throughout the season, even during the driest summers.”
The Penobscot has some of the best white water in Maine, especially the West Branch which runs through Baxter State Park and offers class five rapids.
Students can join MOC for $20, which gives them access to any MOC equipment. For an additional $20, students gain access to the MOC cabin near sugarloaf. MOC has camping gear, cross country skis, snowshoes and more, offering students the opportunity for memorable outdoor experiences. Like the MOC Facebook page for updates and events.