Have you searched bookstores for maps and other information on the Allegheny River and come up empty handed? You’re not alone. Until recently, no guidebook on the Allegheny existed. Now one does. It’s called the Allegheny River Paddling Guide. Click on the guidebook to the left to see more.
The Paddling Guide clocks the upper 45 miles of the Allegheny, from Kinzua Dam to Tionesta, noting major landmarks, historical sites and where paddlers can stop for food, supplies, camping, hiking and more. Each feature is marked on a detailed map of the river that’s laid out consecutively over several pages. GPS coordinates are included for tech-savvy adventurers. Many sights are also captured in photos to help readers further identify what they're seeing as they paddle down the Allegheny. The book is 34 pages, spiral bound, and the size of a reporter’s notebook for easy storage. Every page is enclosed in a 5-mil lamination to make the entire book water resistant (it even floats!). It retails for around $30.
We tried to write the Paddling Guide in a way that made readers feel like we were on the river with them, showing them all the cool stuff in our back yard. We explain in the introduction that no one paid us to be included in the guide. “Our general rule of thumb when compiling it was to include as much objective information as possible, so you could check things out for yourself,” the intro says. “Where we have made suggestions – about books, restaurants, festivals – we’ve tried to be transparent and honest in our recommendations.”
We’ve sold dozens of copies of the Paddling Guide since it rolled off the presses. The feedback from readers has been exciting. One customer, Judy S. of Michigan, wrote us in a letter: “Your paddling guide is worth every penny it cost! … My son works for a small West Coast publishing company that specializes in niche markets. I loaned him the paddling guide to review, with other watersheds in mind. Meanwhile, my daughter in Chicago wants to borrow it. Could you send me another one?”
A firefighter who’d been canoeing the Yellowstone every year for 15 years wondered if we’d do a book on that river. Several other people left remarks on eBay – hardly literary criticism, but worth mentioning as the commentary comes from people who have used the Paddling Guide to plan and execute their river trips