Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

50 Years: A Golden Milestone




WABI-TV5 posted this video of the founders of the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, Sonny Colburn and the late Lew Gilman, in which the two discuss the origins of the race in 1967.

Over 30,000 paddlers have participated in the Kenduskeag since 1967. Canoe race decals and t-shirts have been spotted in Australia, Alaska, Kenya and the Philippines.

Bangor Parks and Recreation, along with countless volunteers and safety personnel, have put decades of hard work into making this dream come true - a dream that began with a phone call between these two gentlemen: Lew "Spook" Gilman (left) and Ed "Sonny" Colburn.

Congratulations to all involved on reaching this historic milestone.

In Sonny's words: "I wish (Lew) was still here...I want everyone to have a good time and smile. Even if they get wet!"

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In Memoriam

Lew Gilman (1929-2011) was one of the co-founders of the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race along with Ed "Sonny" Colburn.

Lew led a remarkable life as an inventor, outdoorsman and family man, without whom we would not likely have a canoe race as we know it.

Lew and Sonny organized the first Kenduskeag in the spring of 1967. A nice BDN story about Lew can be found here.

Thank you, Lew.


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Earl Baldwin Jr. (1924-2012) was a competitive kayaker who built the famous Baldwin Kayak which can be spotted all over the state of Maine.

A local legend, Earl would amaze me at the races with his smooth and efficient paddling, often cruising by paddlers less than a quarter his age.

A nice BDN story about Earl can be found here.

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