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Grimes Canoe Base Guidelines

posted Jun 17, 2011, 8:00 AM by PACAT Conferences   [ updated Dec 26, 2014, 9:48 AM by Troop 521 Scoutmaster ]

Here are some tips and hints for doing a Grimes Canoe Base day trip.


·         Grimes Canoe Base is a Middle Tennessee Council property located just outside Linden, Tennessee.  We get there by taking TN 13 from Clarksville, through Waverly, across I-40, to Linden.  The distance from Clarksville is approximately 100 miles.

·         Scouts will need the following

o   Class A uniform shirt to travel to and from Grimes Canoe Base.

o   Swim trunks, swim shorts, or other short pants suitable for getting wet.  Blue jeans are NOT recommended as they become extremely heavy and therefore dangerous when wet.

o   T-shirt to wear in the canoe (this isn’t southern California or Florida and the objective is NOT to get a wonderful tan)

o   Dry shoes to wear on the trip down and back and a pair of shoes to wear in the canoe that can get wet.  The river bottom is very rocky as are the shoals where we stop.  It is not possible to go barefoot without injury.

o   Sun Block (at least SPF 30) suitable for water activities.

o   A hat or some kind the Scout doesn’t mind losing.  It doesn’t happen often but sometimes a low hanging branch will steal a hat or it will float off when you end up unexpectedly in the river.

o   Money for food and/or the trading post (t-shirts, frozen slushies, etc.) in a zip lock bag or envelope with the Scout’s name on it.
o   Two 1/2 liter bottles of water.

o   A 5’ length of string, laundry line, 550 cord, or similar.  We use this to tie the water bottles to the canoe so they don’t float away if the canoe overturns.

o   A dry snack to eat on the river (Scout is responsible for carrying it and keeping it dry)

·         If Scouts want to bring an MP3 player with them for the trip down and back, that’s fine but it will be locked in the vehicles in the heat while we’re canoeing.

·         Scouts will be permitted to use adults' cell phones to call ahead when we’re on the way back.  They do not need to bring their own.

·         Scouts who have not completed the BSA Swimmer test must be paired with either a Scout who has or with one of their parents.

·         Flotation vests, properly secured, are to worn by all youth and adult participants at all times they are on or in the water.  There are no exceptions to this rule, ever.

·         A canoe or kayak with an adult on board will always be the last boat in line.

·         This is not a race.  The boats will stay together and always in sight of each other.  Boats are responsible for relaying warnings and for spotting a canoe or kayak in trouble.  Every boat should be able to see the one in front and in back of them at all times.

·         When told to space canoes further apart and wait because we are entering a narrow stretch of river, you must do so.  If a canoe becomes stuck at this point, it can easily become a multi-boat pileup as additional canoes are pulled in by the current.



Typically, for a day trip, we drive to Grimes (adults may elect to stop at the McDonalds drive-through at the I-40 intersection on the way down) and once we arrive we get changed into swim trunks, apply sun block, etc.  Once we’re ready, the Ranger will give issue flotation vests and paddles and give us safety instructions and an update on river conditions.  For the 7-miler, we board vans and travel 7-miles upriver.  We unload the canoes and get everyone settled and ready to go.  If we were racing, the 7 miles would take between 1:20 and 2:00 to complete.  Since we’re going to play and work on requirements, we’ll probably be on the river for around 5 hours.  On the way back, we'll stop at either Sonic or Subway for food.


Canoeing instruction en route consists primarily of experience.  We will stop and assist canoes having problems and there is a decent stretch of fairly wide river at the first part of the 7-miler.  Canoe partners should remember to COMMUNICATE so they paddle together and keep the canoe headed downriver instead of into the banks, trees, rocks, cows, etc.