The Illinois Paddler, Newsletter of the IPC: Aug/Sept 2015

August/September 2015

In This Issue
From the President's Desk
    Paddling Safety Task Force
    Sarah Hartman Fund
Paddling Safety and Education:
    Never Underestimate the Power of a River
    First Aid and Emergency Preparedness
    Organizing a cleanup
    Great Mississippi River     Cleanup
Places to Paddle:
    West Branch DuPage River
Access and Water Trails Development:
    Plum River Report
    Ted Glasoe Photography Exhibit
     Last Ralph Frese Video
     Chicago Voyagers (CV) Overnight Wilderness         Canoe Program
    Upcoming Events
    Past Events
    The Windy City Dragon Boat     Club


From the President’s Desk
Paddling Safety Task Force
There have been far too many news stories about people going out in unsafe conditions and getting themselves in trouble or killed.  Two different groups of rafters got hung up on strainers on the DuPage at High Flood stage and had to be rescued. A tuber and a kayaker were killed on the Mackinaw at High Water. 
It is very clear that many people do not understand the safety issues or the skills required to safely enjoy Illinois Paddleable waterways.  There have been a lot of discussions both on Facebook and via email lists about how to address this problem.
Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach (read on):


Sarah Hartman Fund for Paddle Sports Education

We are all saddened by the passing of a fellow paddler, Sarah Hartman.  As an Avid Sea Kayaker, Flat Water River Kayaker, White Water Kayaker, Sarah touched so many of our lives.  She was an incredible Athlete, coach, teacher, and friend.  Any words in this newsletter are inadequate to the task of expressing the loss.


Her family has requested that Donations in her memory be made to either Team River Runner or Chicago Adventure TherapyWe would ask people to give generously to these great organizations in her memory!


There is a web page available to express one’s memories of Sarah at:


The IPC Board voted to rename the Heartland Fund to the Sarah Hartman Fund for Paddle Sports Education.  The Heartland Fund was established several years ago to help with a small stipend to those who achieve level-3 ACA Instructor certifications (or the equivalent BCU Coaching Certificates).  More information for the Sarah Hartman Fund for Paddle Sports Education is available on the IPC Website:

Tom Eckels
President, Illinois Paddling Council

Cleanup Cornerwtk%20logo.jpg?attachauth=ANoY7cp9Xhvf9hBuDEcfOGGq_iKJBthSZA862jAWPt-AeNKT0u9kcPbXGsbid4ZkiuL8n9SP7y2_xhzeGvRkCWI-qPntF-fL2JSw5orLkBXGliyezkY6g4AQn0lMiaTTqG63sYsJPB9EXS6yDexqU5OIb5bPILVnAX8qPFl3ivxHNnWr573S-t3LoWP6wqPuSflPKP9KONOmKBge8gA78vcrOh05PrXka-z7qVpsWni94bQh7VhBuPB60makVP6Eu3FFijhA2Tdx&attredirects=0

Cleanup Corner:  Organizing a Cleanup


Organizing a cleanup is easy!  All you need to do is grab some garbage bags, perhaps some cleanup tools, and your paddling friends, and pick up trash.  That’s all there is to it, so go forth and clean up our waters...Until you get to the spot you were going to drop the trash, and ‘Officer Friendly’ informs you that you can’t leave the tires there! So maybe it isn’t quite so easy.  Let’s start a dialog, on either on the IPC Web Site or on the Water TrailKeepers Facebook Page to discuss the logistics around organizing cleanups.  

Read more about how to Organize a Cleanup here or on Facebook here.

Great Mississippi River Cleanup

Check out this website for listings of clean-ups along the Mississippi: Great Mississippi River Cleanup




Access and Water Trails Development
Plum River Report
plum2By Joe Ginger

On July 29 and lasting until July 31st, the Plum River in Savanna, Illinois, will benefit from the efforts of individuals with the goals of making a navigable stream completely open for paddling, fishing, and wildlife interests, in short, creating a recreational destination for area residents and tourists. When completed, the Plum River will present 9.7 miles of paddling which uniquely requires only a two mile car shuttle. The stream is currently blocked by at least four known logjams. This problem will be addressed by a plan to manage timber stands along the river. The project combines three day community work and concurrent with one week AmeriCorps team work.

Read on here


 Paddling Events/Competition
Upcoming Events

Joe Kowsky Memorial Race
September 12, 2015:  Channahon, IL:  Joe Kowsky Memorial Race (I & M and DuPage)*
Full (public) details at: 

Past Events 

Illinois Whitewater Festival

The Illinois Whitewater Festival was held on July 17th and 18th in Yorkville, IL.  Events included a cardboard regatta, slalom race, boatercross competition, film festival, and live music.  A rib fest with beverages rounded out a great time by spectators and participants. Highlight was the Chicago Whitewater Association Buttercup that drew 53 paddlers in 10 classes making 123 runs down the slalom course.
Wisconsin Canoe Symposium

The Wisconsin Canoe Symposium was a great success!  More than 30 people attended this event, and a lot of learning happened, for beginners and some pretty seasoned canoeists as well.  Beyond that, a lot of friendships were created, and a whole lot of fun was had!  This was held at Pine Lake Camp near Westfield, Wisconsin, about an hour's drive north of Madison.  Hotel-style accommodations, bunkhouses, and tent/RV camping were all available.  

Read more about the WCS here.

The Windy City Dragon Boat Club

Practice on Lake AJuly 2015

As dragon boating slowly continues to gain popularity throughout the US, a local Illinois team is taking the world by storm.  The Windy City Dragon Boat Club (WCDBC), based in Arlington Heights, IL (a NW suburb of Chicago), recently competed at the Dragon Boat Club Crew World Championships in Ravenna, Italy.  After earning the berth to compete by winning the 2013 Club Crew Nationals in New Jersey, the team traveled to Italy in October of 2014 to go up against some of the toughest teams in the World (the competition drew over 130 club crews from 27 countries)! The Windy City Dragons competed in three (3) distances (200m, 500m and 2k), in three (3) different divisions.  In the end, they took home two (2) GOLD medals in the Senior A Mens division, a bronze in Senior A Mixed, and a bronze in Premier Mixed.  Needless to say, the team was extremely proud of their accolades and even prouder to represent the USA on a world stage.

Read more about the club here.

Paddling Safety And Education

Never Underestimate the Power of a River
By Don Mueggenborg
A fast current – a good ride.  You go flying down the river faster than you ever have.

June 2015.   The spring season was wet.  There was rain almost every other day.  The Des Plaines River Canoe and Kayak Marathon had rain forecast, but the rain held off until after the race.  The Mid-America Canoe Race had a downpour right before the start, but after a 20-minute lightning delay, the rain stopped and the day was great.  Continue reading here.

First aid and Emergency Preparedness:  Essential paddling skills!


Every year in Illinois, between the organized club trips, meetup groups, friends getting together, etc., there are lots of people on lots of different waterways!  And for the most part everyone has a great time!  After all, the worst day paddling is better than the best day at work!  And then just once, out of all those many hours spent on the water, something goes wrong.  Someone steps wrong and sprains/breaks an ankle.  Someone stumbles, reaches down to break their fall, and breaks a wrist.  Or dislocates a shoulder…or…or…or…  So what happens when someone gets hurt?  Would you be ready to deal with the situation? 

Read on here.
Places to Paddle

Illinois' One and Only Wild and Scenic River – The Middle Fork of the Vermilion River

MFork1 2
It took a dedicated group of people 22 years to prevent a dam from flooding this scenic river in Central Illinois – Gateway to North America’s Grand Prairie

Read Dr. Clark Bullard’s article on HOW THE MIDDLEFORK GOT ITS NAME
In 1836 the Illinois country was the frontier, and many forts and outposts were vying for the role of "Gateway to the West." One competitor was Amando D. Higgins, a real estate developer from New York who traveled up the Wabash and followed the Vermilion River into the Illinois country. West of Danville, he followed the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River into the Grand Prairie. Stopping at a point where the river was more than 150 feet wide and still navigable to steamers, and ample firewood was available, he founded Higginsville — the Gateway to the West — and advertised lots for sale in the New York papers. His 1837 plats show he named the town “Vermilion Rapids,” for the barrier that marked the end of the navigable part of the river.

Read more here.
My Favorite River: West Branch DuPage River
By: Don Mueggenborg
It was just one of those near perfect days – in spite of the weather reports.  The temperature had dropped from 90 degrees when I left Lemont, down to 87 with a soft breeze.   Our destination was the Mack Road landing (and dog park).

A couple years ago, funds became available to clean up toxic waste left over from about 1940 or earlier.  Much of the river bottom was dredged and replaced.  It is probably one of the cleanest rivers in Illinois now.  When they redid the river, someone thought it would be a good idea to place boulders in the river – to increase the flow?  In low water, these can be a problem, especially paddling upstream.

Read more about the West Branch of the DuPage River. 
Evanston Photographer Ted Glasoe New Photography Exhibit Explores Health of Lake Michiganalmost sunrise
Chicago (June, 2015) — A new photography exhibit challenges viewers to confront the health of one of Chicago’s greatest natural gems: Lake Michigan.
“Surface Tension: Beauty and Fragility in Lake Michigan,” by photographers Nelson W. Armour and Ted Glasoe, examines the opposing realities of Lake Michigan: a beautiful, vast, life-sustaining natural wonder on one hand, and a body of water under silent siege by pollution and other perils on the other.  Read more here. 

The Last Video of Ralph Frese
By Voyek Miezal
Voytek Miezal took this video of Ralph Frese in action building a voyageur boat; the video was taken only a few months before Ralph’s passing.
For all of Ralph’s friends, and those of you who never had a chance to meet MR. CANOE – see the video here
Chicago Voyagers (CV) Overnight Wilderness Canoe Program
cv canoe teach
Second in our article series on organizations using paddlesport to help youngsters in need. CV works with 19 youth agency partners that refer students to them. Check out the website list of the partners.

Chicago Voyagers (CV) Overnight Wilderness Canoe program allows youth ages 12-18 the opportunity to challenge themselves with wilderness and multi-day river canoeing expeditions. Tandem canoe programs are the perfect medium to help youth develop interpersonal skills. Chicago Voyagers' mission is to empower at-risk youth through outdoor experiential adventures that foster healthy relationships and responsible behavior.  Read more about CV here.

cv tandem

By Sigrid Pilgrim

Bob McCray, paddler, teacher, and author of many wonderful paddling stories, particularly in SILENT SPORTS died Sunday, July 18, in Evanston. I have known Bob for many years and very much enjoyed his wonderful paddling articles. Not too long ago, he also offered to be a contributor to the IPC Newsletter and was looking forward to sharing some of his knowledge of local rivers.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, 1140 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60607

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The Illinois Paddling Council
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Lake Villa, Illinois 60046

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