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Paige Minor is a 16-year old white water kayaker from Illinois, member of CWA and this is what she writes about herself:

“I started paddling when I turned 10 and it’s truly the best thing that has happened to me so far. When I first started I was scared by the smallest ripple and now I’m paddling class 4 confidently.

I have helped aid on many instructional trips within the clubs and other volunteer opportunities like river clean ups or Boy Scout demonstrations and I am now in charge of communications for the club (CWA)

I plan on attending world class kayak academy https://worldclassacademy.com/kayak/home/ next year for 1 semester. I have been working really hard to come up with the tuition fee of $18,000 in order to better my kayaking instruction. I am extremely interested in helping to increase the amount of youths involved in this sport and have even started working on that now. CWA is working closely with the boy scouts in our area to help them earn kayaking badges, I also applied to speak at Canoecopia about youth paddling this year and will be taking the certification class to teach as soon as I turn 18 so I can be even more hands on in the process of teaching more kids to kayak.”

To support Paige’s efforts, she has established a Go-Fund-Me page:


Paige also just received the first Marge Cline Memorial Fund Grant from ACA:


and a special grant from the Sarah Hartman Fund for Paddlesports Education from IPC.

We look forward to Paige’s becoming an expert instructor as soon as she turns 18.

We are starting a new tradition in our newsletter – let us know about a special paddler we can feature in our next issue.

May 4 – Ralph Frese Memorial Trip on the North Branch of the Chicago River

Historic Photo of Ralph and Rita Frese Celebrating the Ralph Frese Canoe Trail

Sponsored again by the:  Forest Preserves of Cook CountyFeel Free!

Bring your canoe or kayak and celebrate the legacy of canoe legend Ralph Frese by paddling the Ralph Frese Canoe Trail – the North Branch of the Chicago River from Willow Road Dam to Linne Woods in Morton Grove. (If the river is in flood – the trip will be north on the Skokie Lagoons).

Watch for further announcements.

Paddling Events


Don Mueggenborg

For all racing event details, check the St. Charles Canoe Club page at


May 5 – Current Buster, Fox River Pottawatomie Park, St Charles

May 19 – Des Plaines River Canoe and Kayak Marathon, Des Plaines River – 20 + classes, canoemarathon.com – registration opens March 1

June 2 – Mid America Canoe Race, Fox River: https://www.facebook.com/MidAmericanCanoeKayakRace/

*June 9- Voyageur Landing Canoe Race, Fox River, Elgin-email kaab610@aol.com

*July 21 – Pontiac Vermillion Canoe Race – Vermillion River Pontiac

*July 13 or 14 Abe’s Race, Sangamon River, Petersburg, check Abe’s race website

*Sept 7 Joe Kowsky Memorial Canoe Race, DuPage River, Channahon, IL

Sept 15 – Vic Hopp Memorial Canoe Race, Upper Fox River, akpapa@yahoo.com

Sept 29 – Fall Classic Canoe Race, Fox River, Ferson Creek

All races have classes for canoes and kayaks.

Many have classes for SUP

*Tentative dates 

And the events are NOT only for the pros. Most participants paddle just for the fun of it.


We are working to establish an easier process to get your articles and other news published in the IPC electronic newsletter. Here is how it will work: go to http://www.illinoispaddling.info/newsletter-2/submit-newsletter-content/ to submit an article.  Clicking on this link will launch a page with an editor similar to MS Word.  There are options to add media or upload pictures, as well as format text.

Users will need to be logged into the website to upload an article or news. Once sufficient “news” has been created and moderated to eliminate spam, our newsletter editor will release the issue to all our subscribers (if you have previously received our electronic newsletter). If not, use the “subscribe” form on http://www.illinoispaddling.info/

Watch for further announcement on when this new system will be live and the newsletter release dates.

Contact our newsletter editor with questions: news@illinoispaddling.org

You can already publicize your event on the IPC Calendar:


MAY 19 – 62nd Annual Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon and Minithon (and SUP)

Make it your tradition like Donald Browning and his Son Steve, Grandson Michael and Great-grand- daughter Layla


Registration opens March 1



By Don Mueggenborg

How would you like to paddle with over 700 other paddlers in canoes, kayaks, and stand-up’s? How would you like to be part of a tradition that has gone on 62 years? How would you like to be the one to break 2 hours for the long race?

The Des Plaines River Canoe and Kayak (and SUP) Marathon has something for everyone.  It is a race with the neatest 1st place trophy in each of the 20+ classes.  Some of the best paddlers in the country have raced this race over the years.

But the Marathon is more than a race for the best paddlers. It can be a cruise with company for some paddlers.  It can be a test to see if you can paddle 20 miles (that was how I viewed my first Marathon.)

It can be a place to trade “war” stories at the finish line.  And you get a good looking patch when you finish.  And Ralph?  Who is Ralph and is he lost?

Ralph is what we call the little voyageur that appears on the patch and t-shirt every year.  But sometimes he hides and you have to look to find him.  (A couple years ago, he hid out with 60 canoes and kayaks)

This is to honor Ralph Frese who took a bunch of boy scouts on a race on this course 62 years ago.  (He has been watching the race from heaven the last couple years, I am sure cheering for all of us to finish.)

Try it – you’ll like it and tell me about your adventure at the finish line on race day.

Each participant will receive the coveted embroidered patch, t-shirts are available at optional cost, this year’s great design thanks to the donated skill by Lynda Wallis – lyndadraws@gmail.com

Illinois Recreational Access Program – IRAP

By Sigrid Pilgrim

With efforts to develop water trails on a number of Illinois Rivers – we wanted to let you know about the IRAP Program by IDNR. This program leases private property throughout the state for semi-controlled public access for outdoor recreational opportunities. Currently, there are three such access sites for non-motorized craft in Bureau and Schuyler counties on the Illinois River, and on the Sangamon River in Sangamon County. Landowners are compensated with a few hundred dollars annually for making their private land available to the public for recreational purposes.

IRAP is federally funded through the NRCS Volunteer Public Access – Habitat Improvement Program (VPA-HIP) grant, and IDNR’s funding runs out in 2018 and is contingent upon the 2019 Farm Bill. (Let’s hope it will continue under the current administration).

Until then – everyone working on developing water trails – check out the details of this fabulous program. Although there are some restrictions – see linked below – perhaps there is a way you can identify potential private land owners who might want to participate in exchange for a few hundred dollars, and also the values this program contains. According to IDNR – landowners also benefit from conservation efforts by removing invasive species, upgrading potential access sites with gravel, and the knowledge that they are introducing more people to the wonders only the natural environment can bring.

For more details – please contact Tammy.Miller@illinois.gov.


Sangamon River Alliance

By Scott Hays

Last November, several groups and organizations came together with a common interest in the Sangamon River. Over 240 miles in length, the Sangamon courses through several towns including Mahomet, Monticello, Decatur (where a dam on the Sangamon forms Lake Decatur), Springfield, the historic town of Lincoln’s New Salem, and Petersburg before joining the Illinois River at Beardstown. On that day, people from organizations spanning these towns were there.

The initial goal was to meet, talk, network and explore shared interests and opportunities. And out of this meeting, a new organization was formed that we feel could be a model for river stewardship across Illinois and indeed, everywhere: the Sangamon River Alliance (SRA).

Our current draft mission statement explains that this group will be “dedicated to the stewardship of the Sangamon River watershed” and will “promote watershed conservation, education, and recreation.” “Working together, members of the Sangamon River Alliance will amplify the voice and good work of all of the organizations committed to the well-being of the Sangamon River watershed.”

For a river group within the state of Illinois, the SRA is comprised of an impressive diversity of interests and organizations, including: the Friends of the Sangamon Valley, the Upper Sangamon River Conservancy, Heart of the Sangamon Partnership, Lincoln Heritage Water Trail Association, Friends of Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park, Macon County Master Naturalists, Menard County Trails and Greenways, Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District, City of Decatur Water Production, the Agricultural Watershed Institute, the Village of Mahomet, the Illinois Audubon Society, the American Canoe Association, Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network, the Illinois Paddling Council, the Illinois State Museum, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Massie and Massie Associates,  which has helped with rivertrail plan development.

Not merely a paddling group or even a river group, the SRA seeks to take in the entire Sangamon watershed as the territory it covers, including the river, its tributaries and the surrounding landscape. In addition, we welcome expanded membership from any and all other groups, organizations, and agencies that are active throughout our watershed.

Again, quoting from our draft vision statement: “The Sangamon River Alliance creates a network for sharing and broadcasting information about the efforts of every organization that promotes conservation, and encourages educational and recreational opportunities throughout the Sangamon River watershed.”

For now, the group seeks to serve as a forum for coordinating the varied activities among the member groups. Currently there are no plans for the SRA to have a budget, a board of officers, although we are creating our website, which we hope will act as a ‘one-stop shopping’ site for any and all information about happenings, information, events, and stories for everything Sangamon River. Soon, we hope to hold a ‘Sangamon River Fair’ where all of our member groups can come out and meet the public, and visitors can learn more about the Sangamon watershed.

We hope that you will take an interest in our group and in our river in our part of the state. Come visit us and check out our website at sangamonriveralliance.org.

We’d like to leave everyone with this thought from our SRA draft vision statement: “We have an extraordinary capacity to document and analyze ecosystem threats and to conserve and restore habitats, and most importantly, we have a profound responsibility to ensure the vitality of nature for future generations.”

River is Up – Let’s Go! (No Don’t)

By Don Mueggenborg

The river is up. Time to go paddling.  Finally deep water.  Good current.

How often have we wished for good, high water on our favorite river? Won’t have to worry about hitting the bottom with our paddles.  The good current will make the trip fast.

Not a good idea.

  1. When the river is in flood stage, there are no banks. Those trees that are along the banks, are now between you and higher ground. If you should dump, you won’t be able to get you and your canoe or kayak to the shore.A few years back, my partner Tom and I were paddling the Des Plaines Marathon. Water was high and we were moving.  (We probably should have called it off, but hindsight is better than foresight sometimes.)

    We heard a cry “help!” We came around the bend and saw two people in the water hanging on to their canoe.  We got up to them and they grabbed our boat and we drifted.  There was no way for them to get to shore.  Finally, after a mile and a half, we found a spot for them to get out.  They were cold and wet.

    Under normal water, they would have swam to the shore and been out, dumped the water from their boat and continued.

  2. The trees can be dangerous.   If you manage to get your boat out of the main stream, with the water flowing through the trees, you can’t get your boat through the trees safely. The current may wrap a boat around the trees or wedge it between the branches. 

    Even think about it if you have a kayak. You can’t paddle through the trees because there is not enough room for your paddle between the trees.

  3. The current can be fast and tricky.   The water is often swirling in eddies, moving you to places you don’t want to be, often fast enough to throw you off balance. Fast current, water pushes you into the trees as you come around a curve. We are not used to having to react so fast or even how best to avoid the trees.As much as I love to paddle, as many hours as I have in the canoe, as much as I think I am a good paddler – maybe the best thing to do today is not paddle or find a place to paddle in the back waters with no trees.

    See you on the river – when the water drops a bit.

Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum

Just in case some of our readers may not know – there is a great canoe museum in Spooner, Wisconsin. And, coming up on May 27, is the 2017 Canoe & Wooden Boat Show. Yes – we know – many of you paddle the rotomolded plastic kayaks, SUPs, or fiberglass canoes – but there is always room for some beauty. So check out the event and if you are the lucky owner of one of those beautiful boats – call the museum and see if you can display it. Have fun!

Get Ready For the 2017 Canoe & Wooden Boat Show Sat May 27

WCHM invites participants for its eighth annual Canoe & Wooden Boat Show, to be held in conjunction with Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day on May 27, 2017. This one day free event will also include museum tours and open house, the unveiling of new displays, ongoing activities in the canoe workshop, and live music and food and beverage in the beer garden. Now is the time to make plans to be an exhibitor and display your canoe, wooden boat, or other canoe related items of interest.

Wooden boats of all shapes, sizes, and designs are welcome, both classic and modern, as well as all kinds of classic and vintage water and paddling related items. Whether you have items to sell, or you just have something to show off, there will be many interested folks attending this free event. Exhibitors can include individuals, commercial entities, non-profits, authors, government agencies, educators, crafters, and businesses whose products or services are relevant to boaters and wooden boats and canoes.

Booth space is free, and reserving a space is easy. You can download a booth reservation form from the WCHM website at www.WisconsinCanoeHeritageMuseum.org, or request one by emailing to info@wisconsincanoeheritagemuseum.org or calling 715-635-2479.

Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day is produced by the WCHM each year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.


How Many Miles Do You Want to Paddle?

From a short HOP to a 100-MILE MARATHON – you can do it all on the PECATONICA

  • 1/2 mile – Tutty Crossing (kayak launch) to Hancock Marina (concrete ramp)
  • 3 mile – Tutty Crossing (kayak launch) to VFW (concrete ramp)
  • 6 mile – Brewster Landing (concrete ramp) to McConnell Bobtown Landing (EZ Dock)
  • 8 mile – McConnell Bobtown Landing (EZ Dock) to McNeils Damascus Landing (EZ Dock)
  • 12 mile – Browntown, WI (concrete ramp) to Brewster Landing (concrete ramp)
  • 14 mile – Brewster Landing (concrete ramp) to McNeils Damascus Landing (EZ Dock) – stop over – MBL
  • 14 mile – McNeils Damascus Landing (EZ Dock) to Tutty Crossing (kayak launch) -stop over – **WBT
  • 17 mile – McNeils Damascus Landing (EZ Dock) to VFW (concrete ramp) -stop over – **WBT, TC, HM
  • 18 mile – Browntown, WI (concrete ramp) to McConnell Bobtown Landing (EZ Dock) – stop over – BL
  • 22 mile – McConnell Bobtown Landing (EZ Dock) to Tutty Crossing (kayak launch) -stop over – MDL, **WBT
  • 25 mile – McConnell Bobtown Landing (EZ Dock) to VFW (concrete ramp) -stop over – MDL, **WBT, TC, HM
  • 26 mile – Browntown, WI (concrete ramp) to McNeils Damascus Landing (EZ Dock) – stop over – BL, MBL
  • 28 mile – Brewster Landing (concrete ramp) to Tutty Crossing (kayak launch) -stop over – MBL, MDL, **WBT
  • 31 mile – Brewster Landing (concrete ramp) to VFW (concrete ramp) -stop over – MBL, MDL, **WBT, TC, HM
  • 40 mile – Browntown, WI (concrete ramp) to Tutty Crossing (kayak launch) -stop over – BL, MBL, MDL, **WBT
  • 43 mile – Browntown, WI (concrete ramp) to VFW (concrete ramp) -stop over – BL, M

THE ULTIMATE – 100 MILER — Browntown, WI  to MacTown Forest Preserve near Rockton, IL

Rumor has it that an IPC racer wants to do the 100 Mile Challenge in ONE day!

Abbreviations Key:

BL = Brewster’s Landing

MBL = McConnell Bobtown Landing

MDL = McNeils Damascus Landing

WBT = Wes Block Trailhead

TC = Tutty’s Crossing

HM = Hancock Marina

Link to the Google map to show all the locations: