The Illinois Paddler, Newsletter of the IPC: July/August 2016


July/August 2016

In This Issue

From the Presidents Desk
Safety and Education            
Access and Water Trails
Places to Paddle     
Paddling Events 


From the President’s Desk
Saturday, October 22, 2016
At the Historic Warren Tavern
Warrenville, IL
Our annual meeting, election of officers, awards ceremony, dinner and presentation will take place at Warrenville's 1838 Hotel, "The Colonel's Tavern," a historic landmark of DuPage County (
We will have a presentation from the Prairie Rivers Network on the Health of Illinois Waterways and Effect of Dam Removal.  Time Permitting, the Upper Sangamon River Conservancy will present their stewardship efforts on Illinois’ first water trail.  
So mark your calendar for October 22 and watch for more details as these are finalized. 
For more information or to sign up for the Annual Dinner:

Tom Eckels
President, Illinois Paddling Council

Access and Water Trails Development

Designation of the Kankakee River National Water Trail!
June 3, 2016
Greetings Kankakee River Water Trail Friends, Partners, and Volunteers,
Today after many years of effort, Dept. of Interior (DOI) Secretary Jewell and National Park Service (NPS) Director Jarvis announced the designation of the Kankakee River Water Trail as a National Water Trail!  We began work on developing the Kankakee River as a water trail 8 years ago with a great deal of work on mapping, public access site development, paddling campsite building, and development of bi-state collaboration. Around 2 years ago, we began a serious effort to finally applying to the DOI and NPS for National Water Trail designation after much improvement of the trail’s infrastructure.  Read more here.
Wisconsin-Illinois Fox River Water Trail Initiative Fox-Green-Clouds1
Looking for Volunteers

The Fox River Water Trail from Lisbon, Wisconsin, to the confluence with the Illinois River in Ottawa, Illinois provides suitable access to the public, to enjoy the quiet and active recreation, scenic beauty, abundant wildlife, and historic and cultural features.  Communities along the Fox River embrace stewardship and public engagement to create and maintain a sense of place.

This is the vision of the Wisconsin-Illinois Fox River Water Trail currently being developed by a partnership of the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership, the Southeast Wisconsin Fox River Partnership, the Village of Waterford, Wisconsin, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.  The ultimate goal is to pursue designation of the Fox River as a National Water Trail through the National Park Services’ National Water Trail System.  Learn how you can help here.  Photo by Mike Hoag. 

Paddling Events

Try Racing a Dragon

Some years ago, friends invited me to try Racing a Dragon! I've never paddled so hard in all my life. It took our team a total of 94 seconds to paddle the 300 meter course! The winning team did it in 20 seconds less! Dragon boat racing has its origin 2000 years ago when the poet warrior Chu Yuan threw himself into the Milo River. His devoted followers rushed to find his body, beating the drum to scare away the fish.
If you don't feel like racing the dragon - go as a spectator - it's a great show.
Enjoy - Sigrid
Kishwaukee Paddle Fest​ pf3 5

July 30, 2016 @10 A.M.

Rockford Lithuanian Club Park

6802 42nd st.

Rockford, IL

Free Admission

Click here for flyer


Friends Of The Pecatonica River Foundation


JUN 19*, JULY 24*, AUG 21*, SEPT 18* (* means tentative date)

LEE 815-232-5340 OR 

2016 Des Plaines River Canoe And Kayak (& SUP) Marathonstatues
By Don Mueggonburg
(I’ll bet even Ralph didn’t envision the race lasting this long.)
After a spring of November-like weather, the sunshine gods smiled on us.  An almost perfect day (a perfect day would have seen my partner and I set a record time and win that “little man”).  Water levels were good – not too fast as to be a danger to the less experienced – but quick enough for excellent finish times.  In fact, the last boat was off the water almost an hour sooner than some other years.  Read results here.
At right, the much coveted first price Voyageur Statues waiting for their recipients.

Safety And Education

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 –
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:

Places to Paddle

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.

llinois' Only Wild and Scenic River - The Middle Fork of the Vermilion 100_9751 2
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.

MiddleForkVermilion-1Paddling 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.
Happy Paddling!

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The Illinois Paddling Council
609 roselle ct
Lake Villa, Illinois 60046

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