This is the story of the canoe, that singular American artifact so little changed over time. Featured here are canoes old and new, from birch bark to dugout to carbon fiber; the people who made them; and the adventures they shared. With features of technology, industry, art, and survival, the canoe carries us deep into the natural and cultural history of North America.
The largest Kevlar canoe manufacturer in the world by the turn of the 21st century was Wenonah, with an annual output of around 10,000 boats in a good year (the company also owns Current Designs kayaks). Canoe campers love them for their light-weight, sleek design and durability.
The manufacture of synthetic canoes enjoyed a boost from the increase in interest in human-powered outdoor recreation in the 1960s and 1970s, activities that also included bicycling and cross-country skiing.
Wenonah continually experimented with new models, including this solo canoe called the Vagabond, seen on the shore of Abel Lake in Virginia. Solo canoes became popular for wilderness trippers and day paddlers alike.
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