Dear Gales 2020 participants: 

This is a difficult post to write, so we’ll cut to the chase and then explain: We are cancelling this year’s Gales Storm Gathering and offering refunds to anyone who requests them. We do fully intend for there to be a Gales 2021.


Here’s why we are cancelling Gales 2020: With the death toll from Covid-19 over 170,000 in the United States and the confirmed cases over 5.5. million, we can’t in good conscience offer a kayaking event for 50+ people in the Upper Peninsula. Doing so is irresponsible to all of you, to the coaches and to the local community.

Here are the main things that factored into our decision that it would not be safe: 

  • The increasing rate of infection nationwide, including in rural areas previously unaffected.
  • The growing understanding that cases are primarily being spread by asymptomatic and presymptomatic people.
  • Our emphasis on doing rescues and other close-contact activities.
  • The impossibility of wearing masks while on the water. 
  • The time typically spent indoors together at an event where short days, cold temperatures and frequently inclement weather make social time outside impossible. (It has snowed 6 of the past 9 times we’ve run the Gales!)
  • The possibility that any one of us might infect someone else at the event or someone who lives in Marquette.

The Gales is simply unlike any other kayaking symposium. We spend more time together indoors, enjoying meals and sharing knowledge. It would be no fun to run it without the social time, and it would be unsafe to run the Gales with it.

We are happy to roll your registration over to Gales 2021 or refund it. Just let us know. * And until we see you again, stay well!


Best,us (Sharon, Alec, Keith)

*for 2019 participants who requested a rollover to 2020 we will consider a 2021 rollover on a case by case basis. Please contact kjwikle at g mail dot c om.

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