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The Pathfinder Canoe

Among the last camps in North America to primarily canoe trip in handmade canvas canoes, Pathfinder owes its beautiful fleet to Chief Norton's early purchases, as well as Bill Swift's, Roy Thrall's and Mac Rand's ongoing commitment to the wood canoe.

Pathfinder alumnus and celebrated Ontario canoemaker Jack Hurley rebuilds and new-builds our trip canoes, as well as 14-foot playmates, and the wonderful 9-foot "George Liederhaus" baby blue canoe.

Our Island Canoe Shop

In 2010, Camp Owners Glenn Arthurs and Mike Sladden (owners from 1999 - 2023) had their very own Canoe Shop built on the island. It is located centrally on the path at the front of camp behind the Trading Post (where all trip gear is stored so headmen can outfit and prep for canoe trips) and next to the PX ( camp's main office).

The shop is properly equip with tools and materials that have allowed our current canoe builder, David Statten, and all canoe builders before him, to repair and create beautiful cedar canvas canoes right here on island.

Staff are trained so that when they need to repair, patch, re-paint, or touch-up their boats, they can head to the shop. You can always head to the canoe shop to see what new project Dave is working on, lend a helping hand.

Canoe Builders




While Pathfinder of course had wood canoes from 1914 onward, our trip canoe story begins with Bill Swift, Sr. who took over camp from Chief Norton in 1962 and purchased new Chestnut canoes from the famous New Brunswick factory. Roy Thrall and Mac Rand continued the canvas tripping tradition by hiring former camper/ staffman Jack Hurley to repair and eventually build new boats.



Jack started at Pathfinder as a camper in 1960 and worked his way up to headman. He worked for Swifty at Algonquin Outfitters and learned about canvas canoe repair with that fleet. He also met the famous local canoe maker Clarence Bogues. Jack rebuilt over a dozen trip canoes for Roy in the late ‘70s and began building new canoes to order from Mac in the 1980s.



Glenn and Sladds built a wood canoe shop at Camp in 2010 and Warren moved from headman to canoe maker the following year. He worked with Jack Hurley on repair techniques, and eventually built his own canoes on an exact copy of Hurley’s canoe form, made by Stan Hack. Warren’s first complete new-build was named 'Jack and Peggy Hurley’.



After Warren, Joe moved from headman and CIT director to canoe maker in 2017. He repaired a number of boats and built the 'R.W. Eustis.'



Our current canoe maker started at Pathfinder in 2018, but has lived in the Park all his life. David grew up at Taylor Statten Camps on Canoe Lake, and learned his craft from Dave Standfield there.



Our canoe fleet is our camp's pride. We are one of the last camps in North America to primarily canoe trip in handmade canvas canoes. Each summer, our Directors of Canoe Tripping and Directors of Canoe Dock hold a 'lottery' to assign boats to headmen, secondmen, and CITs.


This is the boat this staffman will take out on each of their canoe trips that summer. Our staff hold great pride in their boats, and are in charge of cleaning, mending, and caring for it that whole summer. They re-varnish, re-paint, and repair their cedar canoe when it is in need.


This is a great Pathfinder tradition that teaches our staff about pride of ownership, canoe-care, and responsibility. Our staff pass this knowledge down to campers, preparing them for this exciting step when becoming a staff.

Canoe Fleet

1 Chief

CPI Cedar Born: 2000 (Hurley) - Replaced 2008 (Hurley) 'Chief' was the name of owner Herman Norton from 1918 – 1961.


2  Roy Thrall

Born: ca. 1990s (Hurley), Rebuilt 2010 (Hurley)  Roy was a longtime staff man and director, he co-owned Pathfinder with Bill Swift, 1965-1975 and solo ('82).


3  Bill "Swifty" Swift

Born: 2000 (Hurley) - Rebuilt: ? (Hurley)

Swifty was camper, staff, owner, and founded Algonquin Outfitters. The Meanest Link trip refers to his nickname and legacy. Owner 1962-75.


4  Fred Lamke

Born: 2000 (Hurley) - Rebuilt: 2014 (McDermott) Fred was camp’s caretaker for decades, building many of our buildings, cabins, and planting hundreds of our trees. The Lamke Award celebrates his legacy.


5  Amy Purdy

Born: 2000 (Hurley) - Rebuilt 2016 (McDermott) Mrs. Purdy was camp’s head cook for much of the 20th century, cooking for everyone on a classic wood stove, with firewood tirelessly cut by Fred Lamke.


6  Ralph Tichenor

Born: ? - Rebuilt: 2013 (McDermott)

'Tick' was an influential camp director under Chief Norton.


7  Tom Dodd

Born: 1990 (Hurley) - Rebuilt: 1999 (Hurley) & 2013 (McDermott)

Celebrated DOT. Dodd canoe is the first named build in the Pathfinder fleet, gifted by Bob Ludwig.


8  Thora Greaves

Born: 2001 (Hurley) - Rebuilt: 2012 (Hurley) Thora is the Hurley boys' maternal grandmother.


9  Tom Pigeon

Born: 2001 (Hurley) - Rebuilt: 2008 (Hurley) & 2015 (McDermott)

Tom is one of a few born and raised inside Algonquin Park. Longtime camp carpenter and power crew mentor. Multi- time winner of the Cache Lake Guides Race.


10 Frank, Jack & Phid Goodwin

Born: 1990s (Hurley) - Rebuilt: 2008 (Hurley) & 2015 (McDermott)

The Sladdens, Goodwins and Cutlers are descendants of these brothers who attended and worked at CPI in the '20s and '30s.


11 Claus Doench

Born: 2001 (Hurley) - Rebuilt 2014 (McDermott) Karl Doench's father. The boat dedicated by his mother Jean in recognition of Karl's role as CPI canoeing director, Director of Tripping (DOT), and council fire guitarist.


12 Sam & Lillian Hubbard

Born: 2000s (Hurley) - Rebuilt: 2015 (?)

The 'Samuel T.' commemorates the parents of George St. and Tom Hubbard. Ted and George are sons of George Sr.

13 Anderson Family

Born: 2013 (Hurley)
R.Q. Anderson won the first Pathfinder and Tripping Awards, one of a huge clan of CPI relatives, children and grandchildren.

14 'Doc' Hurley

Born: 2001 (Hurley); Rebuilt: 2013
(Hurley) Dr. James Hurley, a noted Buffalo obstetrician, sent his sons Paul, Peter and Jack to camp for years. Brent and Alex Hurley’s grandfather. Great-grandfather to many current campers.

15 Al & Helen Chestnut

Born: 2004 (Hurley), Rebuilt: 2015
(McDermott) Al worked for Chief before going to war and surviving capture by the Japanese. Mary Chestnut’s parents later met working at Camp Pathfinder after WWII. The rest is history.

16 unnamed

Born: 2012 (Hurley, McDermott, CITs)
Boat 16 is among the first to be built with help from a CIT class.

17 Norm & Margaret Roggow

Born:?, Rebuilt 2004, 2008 (Hurley)
This couple, related to Mary, hailed from
North Tonawanda, NY and were shining
lights at Pathfinder for 50 years.

18 Mary Hurley

Born: 2012 (Hurley)
The Mary was built in honor of his mother by Jack Hurley. The original was damaged in rapids and a new Mary will debut 2020.


19 unnamed

Born: 2009 (Hurley and CITs)

20 unnamed - double ribber

Born: (Chestnut Krueger); Rebuilt 2001
(Hurley) An authentic Chestnut built for heavy duty, the canoe is slated for the in-camp fleet.

21 Lou Montgomery

Born:? (Hurley), Rebuilt: 2012 (Hurley)
Monty was Pathfinder’s senior staff
director of the famous track & field
program for the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s. He was
Cornell U. track head coach!


22 Stan Rand

Born: ? (Hurley); Rebuilt: 2014
(McDermott)  Stan was a camper in the ‘30s who became father of two Rand campers, including owner Mac Rand, and grandfather of Matt and Katie.


23  Nick Zona

Born:2001 (Hurley); Rebuilt: 2014
(McDermott) Zona was a director for Chief Norton and godfather to Karen Dernoga, whose cottage is on the tiny island near Landlock.


24  Mary Chestnut

Born: 2013 (Hurley)
Raised by parents who met at camp, Mary attended Oconto but has devoted over 40 years to staff roles at Pathfinder. She was camp’s first paid female counselor and waterfront dir.


25  Else and Leighbody Family

Born: 2005 (Hurley); Rebuilt: 2014
(McDermott); Rebuilt: 2014 (McDermott)
This canoe honors famous Pathfinder
family JLay, Linda, Mara and JB Leighbody.


26  Jake and Gerry “Brent Store”

Gerry McGaughey & Jake Pigeon, tough dude storekeepers, have run Brent Store over camp’s years. Best trip snacks ever.


27  Bennett and Gray “The Founders”

Born: 2013 (Hurley)
Built for camp’s 100th year, honoring the founding owners.


28  unnamed

Born: ? (Cedarwood); Rebuilt: 2013
(McDermott); Rebuilt 2014 (McDermott)


29  JB Leighbody

Born: 1999? (Hurley)
A donation of the Leighbody family.


30 Lance Kennedy

Born: 2006 (Hurley)
Named in honor of esteemed Daniel ‘Lance’ Kennedy, camp’s director and Treasure Hunt author for many years.

31 Mac Rand

Born: 2006 (Hurley)
Walter ‘Mac’ Rand owned and directed
Pathfinder from 1983-1999, tripping and
counseling Sladds and many senior staff of the modern era.


32 Quin Anderson

Born: 2007 (Hurley); Rebuilt 2016
Built in honor of R.Q. Anderson for his
camp career and faithful support of camp’s fundraising campaigns. Father and grandfather to many campers.

33 Gyro

Born: 2007 (Hurley); Rebuilt 2016
Built in honor of Jim ‘Gyro’ Coakley, staff
man since 1960.


34 Samuel J. Pierson

Born: 2013 (England)
Built in honor of a young member of the Pierson clan who left us too soon.

35 Graham England

Born:? (Chestnut); Rebuilt: 2013
(McDermott); Rebuilt 2014 (McDermott)
Longtime trip staffman, volunteer alumni canoe builder.

36 Lapey Family

Born: 1989 (Spencer); Rebuilt: 2014
(Lapey) Alum Steve Lapey began building canoes and donated this and two other gorgeous trip boats.

37 Bob 'Guide' Coakley

Born: 2009? (Hurley and CITs)
Brother of Gyro and longtime DOT, Bob’s canoe was built in part by camp CITs to celebrate his successful battle with cancer.

38 Wendy 'Skinny' Swift

Born: 2009 (Hurley)
Wendy was camp owner with husband
Swifty from 1962 – 75. She is mom of Rich, Bill, Sue, Kathy and grandma to Katie, Ben, Jack, Tanner and Jess. Her paintings are found around camp.

39 Mickey Davis

Born: 2011 (Hurley) / Rebuild 2021 (camp)
Originally unnamed, and popularly known as the ‘Dominator’ for legendary NHL goalie Dominik Hasek. Recently sponsored by the Davis family in honor of Mickey Davis. 
Mic enjoyed many summers as a camper, counselor, and Headman at Pathfinder starting in 1941. His family honors his love of all things Algonquin Park with this canoe, dedication for his 90th birthday on May 26, 2021. Bravo Mickey!

40 Bob Roggow

Born: 2011 (Hurley)
Son of Margaret and Norm, ‘Rags’ grew up at Pathfinder and is a noted headman and alumni in residence.

41 Harry Davis

Born: 1920s? (Kennebec); Rebuilt: 2011
Mr. Davis had the cottage on Davis Island, home now to Diane Davis and Will Hopkins, longtime CPI member.


42  The Family Boat

Born: 2014 (McDermott and Family)
Named for the Fall Crew staff who built
this boat together.


43  Steve & Debbie Lapey

Born: 2014 (Lapey)
Another excellent build by Mr. Lapey


44  'RB' – Rosemarie Beres

Born: 2014 (Lapey)
RB was honored with this canoe upon her retirement from Elmwood Franklin School, where she led Pathfinder class trips for over 20 years.


45  The Peterson Family

Born: 2013 (E. Peterson)
Alum Emmett Peterson built the canoe at home in Vermont with his late dad Barrett, and gifted it to Pathfinder’s centennial celebration. The canoe was raffled, won by Bob Young, grandson of Mrs. Purdy, and gifted back by him.


46  The Chisholm Family

Born: ?; Rebuilt 2015 (McDermott)
A family canoe of our neighbors up the
lake, donated 2014 for camp use.


47  Jack and Peggy Hurley

Born: 2015 (McDermott)
First native build by Warren in recognition of Jack and Peg in the new Pathfinder shop.


48  Pat Hodgson, Sr.

Born: 2016 (McDermott)
Gift to camp by Mark Eustis. Built and
dedicated to alum and former DOT
Hodgson on the occasion of his passing.


49  'Tiger' Jim Lion

Named for famed Alumni Jim”Tiger” Lion, given by his family for his father who sent him to Pathfinder. The boat has a custom stern thwart engraved with pristine cap holders.


50 R.W. Eustis

Born: 2017 (Egan)
Built by Pathfinder, a gift from Mark
Eustis in honor of his father.


51-54 Unnamed 17’ (Hoggs)

Born: 2016 (Stewart and McDermott)
Built in two shops, Headwaters and
Pathfinder, four big Chestnut prospector river canoes were used by AAs on the Missinaibi and Bloodvein Rivers.



55 Karl Doench

Born: 2018-19 (Statten)
David Statten’s first original build for CPI is named in honor of longtime staff
alumnus Karl.

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