At right, the much coveted first price Voyageur Statues waiting for their recipients.
The Chicago Maritime Museum – Open Now
For several decades, a group of dedicated volunteers has diligently worked to remind us that Chicago would not exist were it not for the fact that it straddles a continental divide, and was founded because it enabled a continuous waterway from the East Coast to the Gulf of Mexico.
Most people think of Chicago as the birthplace of skyscrapers – yet – its maritime history has been almost forgotten – until just now – so visit the Chicago Maritime Museum at 1200 West 35th
Street – 773-376-1982
For us paddlers, the museum hosts a revolving exhibition of the canoes and kayaks from the Ralph Frese Collection that he donated to the museum as a founding father. The exhibits transit the evolution of the marine history from the use of dugouts, canoes, then schooners, steam ships, barges, and more.
You can also watch a video of Ralph Frese, whose passion for canoes, history, and nature will inspire you and many others today: IN CANOEING, WE HAVE THE ONLY TRAIL IN NATURE THAT LEAVES NO TRACE OF OUR PASSING.
The museum also holds many treasured exhibits that demonstrate much of what has made the Chicago area what it is today.
Chicago’s Public TV station, WTTW, had a wonderful presentation and article about the museum, which can be accessed at:
llinois' Only Wild and Scenic River - The Middle Fork of the Vermilion
Kankakee River – Latest National Waterway
By Don Mueggenborg
It took a while, but the Kankakee has been named a National Waterway.
The process started about 10,000 years ago when the melting glacier broke through the moraines holding it back from Lake Erie (wasn’t called Lake Erie then). A wall of water surged forward, carving out a wide valley and leaving a great wetland.
The wetland attacked many forms of wildlife – called by some the “Everglades of
the North.” Through this wetland flowed a river. The natives called it the Aukiki or Theatiki or Kankakee.
The river flowed through Indiana and Illinois. A beautiful stream, clear water. Full article here
By Voytek Miezal
Many years ago, Ralph Frese told me about this river. My wife Grace and I joined the group led by Larry and Evelyn Tennysson.
A professor from the local University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana joined us several times and told us about the many places associated with the life of local Indians.
This river is good for paddling in early spring, but we paddled it many times in the summer months as well. One winter we spent the three Christmas Holidays on the river and enjoyed the nights in empty and free campgrounds. In addition to the beautiful river, there are also many very nice ponds and hiking trails. Rest of story
Paddling in Central Illinois
--By Karen M. Kyle
May 9, 2016
Central Illinois is an area of mostly flat prairies, flattened ages ago by the glaciers and now part of the corn belt of America. Some rolling hills and bluffs remain near the Illinois and Mississippi River Valleys, but in general, paddlers’ choices are primarily flatwater rivers, lakes, and marshes. When the creeks are up, especially in the spring, there are some spots with more playful water for those interested in that sort of thing.
One of my favorite rivers in this area is the Middle Fork of the South Vermilion (pictured at left). Read about the many places to paddle in central IL here.