Adirondack Guideboats : Beauty and Utility in Action
In Form and Function

Why are they called guideboats? Because they were an essential tool for the Adirondack guide. Traditionally, wealthy sportsmen (called "sports") hired guides to take them hunting, fishing, and camping. Boat builders in the region developed the guideboat based on the needs of these guides.

The guide's job was to row the sportsman to destinations where he could successfully hunt or fish. The guide also had to set up camp, cook for and entertain the client, and carry the guideboat when they came to a carry, or portage. Guiding was hard work!

The two men's roles are often clearly distinguished by their manner of dress. Seneca Ray Stoddard took this photo around 1884. It was taken on Upper Ausable Lake with Sawteeth in the distance, and shows a bearded guide launching a guideboat. The well-dressed man seated in the stern seat is the "sport".

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