History and Memories 

The club was founded in Marin County in the mid 1960's by several people and families who were interested in canoeing. We have heard different stories about its formation and early days from differnt old timers. Its worth noting that Ann Dwyer became a nationally known pioneer of kayaking.

Below are some remembrances written down by Steven Starkweather, who's grew up in the club.

We would love to be able to share other old member's memories here too. Contact Dave at david_fitzgerald@sbcglobal.net


Beginnings of the Marin Canoe Club in the 1960’s

-Stephen Starkweather


Recently (May 2012) Sue Beittel shared some of her memories of the very beginnings of Marin Canoe Club. She still lives in Terra Linda and is in her mid-80’s. Terra Linda, now part of  San Rafael , which is where it all started.


Sue recalls that three ladies met at the Marin Civic Center Lagoon. Ann Dwyer was one of them and she was offering to give a canoe lesson for the other two, Sue Beittel and Nikki Strandgaard. Ann arranged this meeting for the three of them, and the year was probably 1965. Sue has just found records that she and her husband Dan purchased their canoe in February of that year, and that they paid their first canoe club dues of $10 in February of 1966.


Sue describes more:

“Arlene Andersen joined us early on - she had a cabin at Soda Springs and suggested summer trips at  Kidd  Lake - she made all of the early arrangements. Ann (Dwyer) started the pot luck dinners each year in about January at her home in Kentfield. Dan (Beittel) started the tradition of happy hour by bringing wine, other drinks and snacks when we went on trips. I think we also started the tradition of volley ball at  Kidd  Lake (usually on an island in the lake). I know we always brought the net and ball.”


Sue has also mentioned the following old ‘loyal’ Marin Canoe members: Nancy Schlegel, Doris Hunker, and Luisa Arndt.


I (Stephen) also have so many memories. I especially remember the following early families: Wilma & Bill Follette & Family, the Browns, Torbin & Nikki Strandgaard & Family, Gordon & Gladys Young & Family, the Marneys, Ken & Gerrie Reichard, Tom & Thelma Martin & Family, and of course my family John & Jean Starkweather & Family.


My mother Jean also just found an old file box complete with the old rosters, trip schedules, and the newsletters named “Ca-News.” Just to give you an example, here is the wonderful-sounding and extensive trip schedule for the year 1967:

1) Russian River/Alexander Valley; 2) Corte Madera Creek; 3) San Antonio Estero; 4) Navarro River; 5) American River from Nimbus Dam; 6) Soda Springs Area overnight; 7) Albion River; 8) Hog Island overnight; and 9) Bolinas Lagoon)