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McHenry County Conservation District’s Paddle in the Park

Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Paddle in Park 3
Photo credit: Weg Thomas

The Hollows Conservation Area
3804 US Highway 14 in Cary, IL

McHenry County Conservation District will be hosting its 8th annual Paddle in the Park. Please help spread the word, or volunteer to help us with the event.

Test the waters, dip a paddle in the crystal clear waters of Lake Atwood, and discover the joy of canoeing, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding at Paddle in the Park: Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at The Hollows Conservation Area, 3804 US Highway 14 in Cary.

Hosted by McHenry County Conservation District, this event is a great opportunity for beginners to get introduced to the sport, or for experienced paddlers to pick up information on local outings and outfitters. “McHenry County residents have access to many nearby waterways, and our hope is that we can get individuals and families to take their next outdoor adventure on the water,” said Communications Manager Wendy Kummerer.

Entry to the event is free, and for a onetime workshop fee of $5, visitors can test-paddle a variety of water vessels and participate in a beginning canoe paddling clinic offered at 10:30 a.m. and Noon, beginning kayak paddling clinics at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., solo canoe paddling clinic at 1:00 p.m.; stand up paddle board clinics will be ongoing throughout the day at the L.L. Bean booth. A demonstration of canoe rescue techniques will be offered at 2:30 p.m. Visitors will also discover the importance of the canoe in early American settlement, exploration, and the fur trade industry. The Southwest Brigade, historical interpreters, will demonstrate a voyageur canoe. Representatives from the American Canoe Association will be present to teach solo canoeing, canoes rescue techniques, and workshops: “How to Be a Well-Dressed Paddler” and/or “Assessing Risk: Live to Paddle Another Day.”

“Not only is canoeing or kayaking fun, but a great opportunity to get closer to nature,” said Event Coordinator Andy Tally. “In a canoe or kayak, you have access to more intimate waters. That can bring you closer to wildlife than any other form of transportation.”

Local vendors will be on hand to discuss the different types of watercrafts available and which type might best suit you or your family’s needs. A number of canoeing resources will be available, such as information on where to paddle, where to get lessons, clubs to join, local outfitters and rentals, and details on local river trips and Midwest excursions. We will also feature music by award-winning singer/songwriter/canoe enthusiast, Jerry Vandiver. Jerry has song credits on over 15 million records and two of his titles are hanging in the Country Music Hall of Fame. There will also be food for sale by MJ’s Coffee Bar.

Participants this year will include the American Canoe Association, the US Coast Guard Auxiliary; local canoe and kayak clubs such as Prairie State Canoeists, Illinois Paddling Council, and Southwest Brigade; plus retailers, including L.L. Bean and Erehwon Mountain Outfitters.

Registration is not required. For more information, call Prairieview Education Center, (815) 479-5779 or visit www.MCCDistrict.org.

We are also seeking volunteers to assist as safety paddlers, or to assist with instructional clinics. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Andy Talley at (815) 479-5779 ext 14.




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