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President, Potawatomi Paddlers Associaion


By Frank Koehler

In cooperation with the Kankakee Valley Park District, The Potawatomi Paddlers (PPA) have entered a team in this new event. A team consists of 20 paddlers sitting two abreast, plus a “Cox” who steers the dragon boat from the rear, and a drummer who sits at the front. The team of paddlers works in unison to propel the board from a standing start, the aim being to reach the finish line in the fastest time. Ten members of the PPA will be teamed with members from an area business or association.
The event will take place Saturday, September 19th, 9:30 AM at the Kankakee Valley Park District River Road Boat launch, on the south side of the Kankakee River. The entrance is just ¼ mile East of the Ice Valley Center Ice Rink along the south side of River Road Softball Fields.

The Potawatomi Paddlers Association has announced their second annual Kayak Raffle. First prize is a $500.00 Kayak Roof Rack from Pacesetter Truck Accessories, Bourbonnais, IL. Second prize is a $250 gift card from Stock and Field in Watseka, IL, for purchase of a kayak, paddle, and personal flotation jacket. Third prize is Swagman Contour Roof Rack from U-Haul, and fourth prize is a gift card from Meijer’s of Bradley.

Proceeds from the raffle will be used toward the development of an accessible kayak/canoe launch on the Kankakee River in Momence, Illinois. Tickets are $10.00 each or three for $25.00. The winning ticket will be drawn at an event hosted by the Potawatomi Paddlers at the Wilmington VFW Post 552 in Wilmington IL, on Thursday evening, October 8th, 2020.
Please go to the PPA website (KankakeeRiverPPA.org) and click on “Kayak Raffle.” Raffle Tickets can be purchased on-line and will be mailed to the purchaser.

The PPA has scheduled group events throughout the summer. Join us as we explore different sections of the Kankakee River, along with events on the Vermillion and Iroquois Rivers, and the Willow Slough near St. Anne. Participants need to provide their own kayak/canoe. To ensure maximum safety, all participants must wear personal flotation devices. Refreshments are provided following each event.

Saturday, May 9: Willow Slough: Maintained by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area is an area dedicated to providing hunting and fishing opportunities while maintaining 9,956 acres, 1,800 of which are open water, marshes, and flooded crop land.

Saturday, June 20: Iroquois River: this will be a three-hour paddle along one of the most scenic rivers in Central Illinois.

Saturday, July 11: Rock Creek: We will start near 9000 N. 2250 West Road, and finish just outside Camp Shaw on Roadway 5000 West.

Saturday, July 18: Vermillion River: This is the only river in Illinois having been included on the National Wild and Scenic River System by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Saturday, August 22: Kankakee River State Line: This is a unique section of the Kankakee River, beginning near the State line and finishing in Momence.

Saturday, Sept. 19: Kankakee River Warner Bridge: Starting just west of Warner Bridge Road, we will finish at Rivals Park in Wesley Township, Will County.


The Potawatomi Paddlers were recently awarded a $3,500 grant from the Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley. The proceeds of the grant will be used to help finance the placement of an accessible kayak launch in Momence, Illinois. In concert with the Momence Park District, the launch will be located on Island Park, near the Momence pedestrian bride. This will afford ease of access from the Island to the Momence Business District. Paddling enthusiasts can easily take advantage of area businesses and restaurants, and other attractions prior to or after an active paddle.

Founded in 2017, following the designation of the Kankakee River as a National Water Trail, one of only 22 rivers in the Country with that designation, the mission of the PPA is to encourage and enable safe and environmentally sensitive recreational use of the Kankakee River National Water Trail, and to expand recreational opportunities for paddle sports, leave-no-trace camping, and other non-motorized activities by all people. Development of the accessible kayak launch is in concert with this mission.

To date, the PPA has raised more than $20,000.00 towards its goal of $35,000.00. In addition to the launch, funds will be used for site preparation and for construction of a hard surface walkway from the adjoining parking lot to the launch site. Additional contributions are both welcomed and encouraged. Individuals and businesses can donate via the PPA website (KankakeeRiverPPA.org) using PayPal.