Dear Canoe Builders, Friends, and Supporters:

Greetings! We are excited to offer the 2019 Birch Bark Canoe Project (BBCP) at the Ely Folk School; handcrafting, learning, and sharing!

Welcome to Ely’s Birch Bark Canoe Project (BBCP)! Thank you to all of our participants and supporters! We respectfully honor the Anishinaabe origin of the birch bark canoe and share its tradition to help preserve and revitalize cultural knowledge. Crafting and paddling birch bark canoes together help connect and empower our diverse communities.

This summer we are meeting on Monday evenings from 5-9 pm at the Ely Folk School, from May 13th through August 12th, 2019. Nightly interaction covers traditional canoe design, current construction process, safety, tools, materials, and conversation. Our goals are to learn traditional skills, craft alongside friends, share stories, and paddle the new 20-foot birch bark canoe!

Finishing the canoe requires significant work: splitting and carving cedar floor sheathing, ribs, and gunwale caps; assembling cedar stems and headboards into end-frames; lacing the bark cut-water ends and lashing gunwales with split spruce roots; steam-bending ribs and gunwale caps; carving hardwood pegs and pegging the gunwale caps; hull planking and ribbing; gathering and mixing pine and spruce resin with soft-wood charcoal and bear-grease; and pitching all seams below the waterline.

Come join us! It is free to participate as a visitor or first-time builder and $30 to become an active builder, which covers the entire summer’s BBCP activities (participate as your schedule allows). Last summer we had 25 active builders, dozens of volunteers, and approximately 1,400 visitors! Together, let’s make the 2019 Birch Bark Canoe Project another exceptional summer!

We welcome your participation at the Ely Folk School and wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer!

Erik Simula
Birch Bark Canoe Project Instructor