The Truth about TVCC (It’s more than paddling…)

Yes, we paddle!   And that is where the story begins …

Established in 1967, the Tennessee Valley Canoe Club turns 50 years old in 2017.  During these 50 years, the Club evolved from a group of people getting together just to paddle, into a much more comprehensive purpose.  Today, TVCC’s busy calendar of activities not only brings people together who are into canoeing, kayaking, and related activities, but also to increase the knowledge, safety and appreciation of paddle sports; and to support conservation and preservation of recreational waterways.

Membership is open to people of all ages. Both families and singles are welcome.


The club’s activities include:

  • Whitewater, flatwater kayak, SUP, and canoe training
  • Whitewater, flatwater, SUP, and canoe river trips for all skill levels
  • Water safety & rescue training
  • Extended canoe & camping trips
  • Annual & monthly meetings
  • Community service

More than 700 members and their families have joined TVCC, resulting in a total population of more than 800 paddlers,  making this one of the most active paddling clubs in the Southeast.  These paddlers take advantage of whitewater, flatwater, and overnight paddling trips, enjoying the remarkable beauty of the rivers, creeks and lakes in the Southeast.  In addition, TVCC sponsors trips to other great locations in the nation, while some paddlers even go international.


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Paddling with TVCC is a social event, providing opportunities to meet new friends.  The club promotes safe paddling as well as an opportunity to learn or improve paddling skills.  Another important role of TCCC is supporting conservation of local waterways.

Safe paddling

TVCC has a decades long tradition of promoting safe paddling activities as well as training for new paddlers and those wanting to improve their skills.  TVCC Trip leaders are experienced, safety focused paddlers who follow TVCC safety guidelines planning and leading club trips.  Their goal is to ensure paddlers have a safe and enjoyable paddle, and know how to respond in the event of an accident or emergency.


To help Trip Leaders develop and follow a sound safety plan, TVCC has published official by-laws detailing safety procedures.  These are “best practice” standards for safe paddling with specific steps to follow on all club-sponsored trips.  A club-sponsored trip is any formal, pre-planned trip posted with a designated leader on the Club online calendar and/or the club newsletter calendar. All TVCC Trip Leaders follow these procedures.

For every group paddle, TVCC cruise masters/guides prepare paddlers for the conditions they will face for that specific paddle, as well as provide guidance and directions on keeping safe when more challenging conditions are present.

For flatwater, safety guidelines are frequently just common sense and reflect procedures that experienced recreational boaters already follow.  For those new to paddling, TVCC guides coach these new paddlers to ensure they understand basic paddling skills.

Whitewater guides provide similar direction, support and guidance.  However, TVCC recognizes that whitewater paddling is a more challenging activity and higher skills are needed.

Training/Instruction program


As part of a dedicated safety program, TVCC offers a two-day Paddle School each year for whitewater,  flatwater, and SUP  paddlers. Courses are designed for everyone, from first timers who have never been in a boat, to intermediate/advanced paddlers looking to improve their skills. All classrooms are on the water, ensuring paddlers get plenty of experience under the supervision of TVCC instructors and support boaters who are excited to share their knowledge and passion for the sport with students. TVCC Paddle School is usually based out of a campground near the Ocoee River with whitewater instruction on the Hiawassee River and flatwater training on Parkville Lake.

Superhero-in-Chief LaDawn Wolfe is on stage and making it happen!Rolling

Mike Shillinger performs his annual safety (and comedy) demonstration.

TVCC goes far beyond this annual structured training with ongoing individual mentoring and group instruction, especially for those wanting to learn to paddle in whitewater.  Most whitewater training starts with learning roll skills in a local swimming pool each winter.   TVCC whitewater paddlers nurture new paddlers, making it possible for the average person to take advantage of this exciting sport, having fun, and remaining safe. This is free and high quality training that is not available anywhere else in this area.

Conservation (We help keep the waterways clear for our paddling enjoyment)


TVCC supports clean water and the Clean Water Act. Clean water is essential for the enjoyment of paddle sports.  It is critical for public health as well as the health of a wide range of industries.  Responsible safeguards protect us from upstream pollution and help us protect our downstream neighbors and our great rivers.  TVCC’s active clean water conservation activities start with a dedicated Conservation Board Member who has established a checklist enabling individual paddlers to follow on their own, doing their part to easily help to conserve waterways as well as support all components of the environment.

TVCC also supports regular efforts to clean up Southeastern creeks and rivers with teams of volunteers to regularly remove trash and other hazards to paddlers and the environment. Over 90 miles of waterways and associated ramps are under TVCC care and we always need more volunteers.