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Water Sports Foundation Creates New Paddle Responsibly Logo for the U.S. Coast Guard

Orlando, FL February 28, 2017:

The non-profit Water Sports Foundation (WSF) announced today the release of a specialized paddle sports safety logo designed for, and approved by, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety. The Coast Guard has promoted its popular Boat Responsibly logo for many years, but with an extra emphasis on paddling safety, it became apparent that there needed to be a sister logo designed specifically for paddle sports.

For the past five years, paddle sports popularity has grown steadily and so have boating deaths related to paddling. In 2015, according to a U.S. Coast Guard report*, 143 paddlers lost their lives while participating in paddle sports. The trend of increased paddle sports deaths is causing concern amongst the Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division and paddle sports safety organizations. This news comes during a period that deaths from traditional power boating actually declined.

Please read the full press release from the Water Sports Foundation, Inc. here.

Water_Sports_Foundation_Releases_New_ Coast_Guard_PaddleSports_Logo

And access the logo (JPG and PNG)

 

 

 

Fox River National River Trail Update

By Greg Taylor

The Core Development Team (CDT) is currently working on developing the final draft of the reporting form that will be used by paddlers to gather the information that will be used to determine the database for the certification. The known entry/exit points and campsites along the river are currently being plotted on a map for a clearer understanding of where gaps are that need to be verified for their attributes, along with the age of the data that might need to be re-verified this summer. The age of some of the existing data might be too old to use and will have to be paddled again for a current condition (aka more than 7-10 years old? and older). Probably not a great loss-who doesn’t like an easy afternoon paddle on an easy flowing, tree-lined avenue?

I will be at CanoeCopia this March – on Saturday and Sunday – with a signup sheet for those who would like to help out with the ground-truthing, paddling information-gathering opportunities of the Initiative. I will be at the Prairie State Paddlers’ table (an excellent organization I might add) when I’m not checking out all the cool new gear and info that the fest has to offer. Anyone think a dew rag with the Fox River as an entry/exit map would be a good souvenir to those who help out? Stop by the table and give me your opinion, I’ll listen.

Kansas City Kayaker Embarks on Expedition to Set World Record for Miles Paddled

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Feb. 12, 2017) – Traci Lynn Martin, an experienced expedition kayaker, will launch an attempt at a world record for the most miles kayaked in one year. She gets underway March 9, 2017.

Martin was diagnosed with debilitating and painful rheumatoid arthritis in 2010. Despite suffering from this condition, she continues paddling and has won a wide range of competitions in several states, setting several course records in the process. She’s now taking her skill and strength to an ambitious next level, as she aims to paddle 8,600 miles in less than one year.

“My goal is to set a new Guinness World Record for the most miles kayaked in one year,” Martin said. “In the process, I hope to encourage and inspire individuals with chronic health conditions to reach for their dreams and never give up.”

Launching at Port Huron, Mich., Martin will circumnavigate the five Great Lakes, several rivers, and the Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada. Her goal is to finish the route in 265 days, with her finish ceremony at Lake Erie Metro Park, Michigan, in December 2017.

Martin’s expedition is entitled “The Stellar Tour de Force,” and while she paddles, a filmmaking crew will document her efforts. The accompanying film, “Just Around the Pointe,” aims to capture the experiences, terrain, and people Martin meets along her journey.

The expedition route traverses U.S. and Canadian shores, as well as five provinces and 14 states. In addition to the five Great Lakes, she will face wind, waves, and weather on the St. Lawrence River Seaway, the Hudson River, and on the Atlantic Ocean near Nova Scotia as she heads to New York Harbor. Martin’s return expedition travels along the Erie Canal to Lake Oneida, and back onto Lake Ontario via the Oneida and Oswego Rivers.

Martin will be wearing a tracking device so friends, family, and fans may view her progress through RaceOwl.com. She also is inviting all local paddlers, and those who love the waterways she’ll explore, to join her as she negotiates the route.

Find complete details, including route and timeline, at JustAroundthePointe.com

About Traci Lynn Martin

Traci Lynn Martin is a registered nurse who works at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. She is an avid outdoors enthusiast and experienced kayak racer who has won numerous races in several states.  She was diagnosed with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis in 2010, but continued to paddle and race, setting several course records and earning many wins.

She’s set her sights on completing a one-of-a-kind adventure, with the goal of paddling more miles in less time than anyone ever has; she’ll do it while reminding people who face chronic illness that nothing is impossible.

Learn more about Martin’s competitive statistics, goals, and vision about her attempt at http://www.justaroundthepointe.com/meet-my-team.

About the Record

The current world record, held by Marcin Gienieczko of Poland, is 3,462.89 miles (5,573 kilometers).  Unofficially, Freya Hoffmeister of Germany completed the longest solo kayak expedition to-date. She paddled 8,570 miles in about 360 days.

About the Documentary, “Just Around the Pointe”

Patty Dillon is the writer, producer, and director of the documentary film about Martin’s journey entitled, “Just Around the Pointe.” Dillon has extensive experience as a filmmaker and her work was featured on CNN, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. She’s earned multiple award nominations for her documentaries.

Dillon’s joined by her director of photography and co-producer, Jeremy Osbern. He has worked with some of the top names in the film business, including George Clooney, Lada Gaga, Jason Bateman, and  Zach Galifianakis, just to name a few.

Chris Blunk is the film’s senior producer, and his many film credits include “Jayhawkers,” a narrative feature about Wilt Chamberlain and Phog Allen; “The Sublime and Beautiful,” which premiered at Slamdance and which Candy Factory optioned for distribution. He’s also produced “AIR: The Musical,” which was distributed in North America, Australia, China, Taiwan, and South Africa.

View the trailer for “Just Around the Pointe” at: https://vimeo.com/184781882

‘”Just Plain People” Canoe Races

By Don Mueggenborg

  • Des Plaines River Canoe/Kayak Marathon (and SUP)
  • Mid-America Canoe Race

Just plain people who like to paddle – that’s what most of us are.

(That’s how I started paddling the Des Plaines Marathon almost 50 years ago – has it really been that long? It was fun.  I was hooked.)

Sure, there are the “racers” who go so fast their wake will knock you over; they leave a cloud of steam as they pass (well, not really).  Their vocabulary is one word – “hut.”  Their canoes are ugly black.  Their kayak paddles look like windmills when they really gear up.

But most of us are just plain people, and the DES PLAINES RIVER CANOE AND KAYAK MARATHON (AND SUP’s) AND THE MID-AMERICA CANOE RACE are geared to these just plain people.

We race, not to win (well – maybe to hope to win or at least, beat someone), but to have fun.

Imagine, paddling with 1,000 other people who love the rivers as much as you do.  The camaraderie: not only on the river, but at the start line, and especially after the race.

Imagine taking the whole family out, dividing up into a couple canoes and kayaks, and then trying to beat each other (men, don’t get mad when your wife beats you – it happens).  Race against your brother –in- law or your neighbor – or with your neighbor.

Imagine setting a goal – can you race the 20 or 10 miles?  Can you beat your time from last year?  Sweat a little (or a lot) – bring fluids (non-alcohol).

Or just paddle the short course for the fun of it.

Imagine getting that fancy patch and wearing that great t-shirt.  You will strut around town showing it off.

After the race, stay and have some lunch (good food vendors) and sit around and tell “war stories.”  Talk with those “racers,” get some hints, share the day (most racers love to talk about paddling).

Go to Canoemarathon.com for the May 21st Des Plaines Marathon (Libertyville to Dam # 2, Mt Prospect; Deerfield Rd to Dam # 2 for the mini-thon).

Fox Valley Park District for the Mid-Am – first Sunday in June (St. Charles to Aurora; Batavia to Aurora – short race).

Canoe rentals available – see the website: http://www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org/event/mid-america-canoe-kayak-race/

Try it, you’ll like it!  Check out photos from past Des Plaines Marathons (photos copyright © 2007 by Cliff Doll):

Ralph Frese and daughter

A Fabulous New Paddlesport Safety Brochure and Videos

By Sigrid Pilgrim

As a representative on the Chicago Harbor Safety Committee, I was sent the newly developed Paddlesport Safety Brochure:

http://www.canoekayak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/WSF_Safety-Brochure-FINAL.pdf

This is excellent, short, visual and to the point. Since it is hard to print out in the format given, I tracked down the origin and suggested that perhaps it could be made available with each canoe/kayak sold. Little did I know the background and what a great surprise

Thank you JIM EMMONS, Non-Profit Outreach Grant Director, Water Sports Foundation, Inc.

A Division of WSIA.net; ACA Instructors and US Coast Guard.

The pamphlet idea was developed during a 2015 safety meeting that I organized with the USCG and the top six recreational kayak manufacturers at the Outdoor Retailer trade showing Salt Lake City, UT.  During the meeting, we got the manufacturers’ attention by sharing the raw data on deaths in America.  Prior to this meeting, the manufacturers had no idea that kayaks killed so many.  Next we asked them to help us share safety messages through their channels, both social media and marketing, like websites and newsletters.  They all unanimously agreed.  At this meeting, we discussed a safety pamphlet that could be attached to kayaks during production and shipped to dealers ready for consumers right in the retail environment.  The manufacturers all agreed to include them and in January, nearly 7 million (a three year supply) were printed by the USCG.     

I managed to get a commitment from NASBLA to help get this pamphlet shipped to nearly every state and territory — about 2 million copies. 

There have been a few articles about this project.  I’ve linked two here.

NASBLA’s Small Craft Advisory

Boating Industry

In addition to the printed pamphlet, we also produced an eight part video series called Safer Paddling, Be Smart, Be Safe, Have Fun.  The videos are all over Youtube, but you can find them on our partner’s website, Canoe & Kayak here. (The pamphlet also has a QR code directly linking to the videos). For 2017, we are producing a series of SUP videos and a pamphlet for SUP manufacturers to attach to the deck of the board.

River Stewardship Volunteers 2016 Annual Summary

By Paul Klonowski

Photo: Rob Ratz

In 2016, the Lake County Forest Preserve District’s Des Plaines River Stewardship Crew held somewhere in excess of 75 training and work days, involving 30 active regular volunteers (5 are new for 2016), and 53 “one-timers,” including people from two corporate groups, a paddlesports club, a Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout Project, and one volunteer we borrowed from McHenry County Conservation District’s Education Volunteer corps. The combined efforts resulted in the collection and removal of an estimated 6,170lbs of trash from the river and its flood plains this year, including one of our biggest single-day trash hauls ever, estimated at 1,400lbs of trash!  All told, we logged 1,382 hours of volunteer time, which is another record year for us!

Trash items of interest include: a wading pool, a large tradesman’s style truck rack, two wood duck houses, a truck bumper & body panels, a length of chain link fence, a hypodermic syringe (with no needle), an unused condom (still in its package), an Adirondack chair, the trunk lid from an old car, a live fish on an abandoned troll line (we released the fish), most of a Big Wheel Tricycle, a sign post, two empty moonshine jugs, a large road sign, a Stop sign, a 30-gallon oil tank, a broken blue sink (which matched the blue toilet taken out a few years back), a broken green toilet, a trash can (it was handy), a “lunch litter” site behind Liberty Auto City, bones from what we think was a horse, parts of a blue pickup truck, a hub cap from a De Soto automobile, a couch, the remains of a cardboard boat, an inflatable raft, a fresh bag of groceries, two pallets, more truck parts, a large picnic cooler bucket, a pile of slate shingles, an unusable wheelbarrow, a small roll of carpet, a 55-gallon trash barrel, three or four deck chairs, a 1,000-gallon fuel tank, a 12-foot section of culvert, two dead chickens, and 23 coconuts.

In addition, we collected 52 tires of various sizes, and cut through or did some maintenance trimming on 41 log jams. We also identified one old dump site that will require Operations to clean up: it contains at least 20 truck tires and several large truck parts, half-buried in the banks of Half Day Pits, in Lincolnshire.  On December 30th, we found an old dump site that we’ll clean up after the ground thaws.

We spent one of our scheduled work days at Greenbelt Forest Preserve, planting shrubs and small trees, after learning that extra help was needed for that effort.

But the crown jewel for the year was the final removal of the remains of the 1948 Chevy pickup truck, near our tool shed.   Eighteen Boy Scouts & Scouters can move a lot of heavy stuff, very quickly…

Not a bad year, I think! And 2017 is off to a grand start, with ten (10) new volunteers lined up for this year, so far!

pk

Photo: Rob Ratz
Photo: Rob Ratz

Dragon Boat Racing Returns to the South Side

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chicago Southland Dragon Boat Festival Debuts New Location, Craft Beer Village, and More

BLUE ISLAND, ILLINOIS, February 15, 2017 — Dragon Boat racing is back in Blue Island this summer, with a new, larger venue, more events, and some great additions like craft beer, food, merchandise, and more. The 2nd Annual Chicago Southland Dragon Boat Festival is scheduled for June 1-3, 2017, at the MWRD Waterfall Park along the Cal-Sag. This year’s festival also includes welcome receptions at Rock Island Public House and Double Play Saloon the evenings of June 1 and 2 after team practices, and an after-party June 3 at The Blue Island Beer Company.

“Last year, we fell in love with the atmosphere surrounding the first dragon boat festival hosted here on the south side,” says festival organizer Kevin Brown. “It’s so much more than a great day on the water. It’s a celebration of sport, community, and fun, interesting people. We also loved that newcomers to the sport can compete with little training or instruction – if you can paddle, you can race in a dragon boat!”

Brown says finding a new site was necessary to expand the event, and to better accommodate festival attendees with amenities like public transit access, abundant, free parking, and multiple food and drink options.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the MWRD, City of Blue Island administration, police and fire, the U.S. Coast Guard, Metra, and so many incredible local businesses and organizations to make this festival location a reality,” says Brown. “Paddlers and spectators will be blown away by the incredible views of the races from sites like the new Chatham Street pedestrian bridge – part of the forthcoming Cal-Sag trail connection through Blue Island – as well as the proximity to Blue Island’s beautiful historic uptown, and all that Olde Western avenue has to offer.”

Individual and team registration is underway at www.chicagodragonboats.com, as well as a description of available festival sponsorship opportunities – many of which include team entries for businesses and the community organization, school, or church of their selection.

“We’ve structured this event to highlight what we feel is the most exciting thing dragon boat racing brings to our communities,” says Brown. “Dragon boat racing is about pride, it’s about inclusivity, it’s about teambuilding and communication skills, being outside and being physical – and almost anyone can do it.”

About the 2nd Annual Chicago Southland Dragon Boat Festival

Date: Thursday June 1, Friday June 2, and Saturday June 3, 2017

Time: Practice Sessions: 4-8 pm Thursday and Friday, Dragon Boat Races: Saturday: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Location: MWRD SEPA Waterfall & Park along the Cal-Sag, Blue Island, IL

Description: The Chicago Southland Dragon Boat Festival caters to a variety of groups, including businesses, organizations, churches, families, competitive sports enthusiasts, and those who crave outdoor summer activity on a stunning dragon boat regatta course. Personal satisfaction, team development, and friendship are among the many benefits participants experience, and many companies, organizations, and schools have found that the social atmosphere and teambuilding aspects of dragon boat racing assist with ongoing constructive communication for their employees, members, and students.

Thursday and Friday’s activities include team practice sessions with instructors from Great White North Dragon Boat Racing (GWN), as well as a team welcome reception at Rock Island Public House. GWN also provides the dragon boats, paddles, and life jackets for participants.

Saturday’s activities include the dragon boat races, awards ceremony, craft beer village featuring the Southland’s best food and craft beer, and after party at the Blue Island Beer Company.

For more information on the 2nd Annual Chicago Southland Dragon Boat Festival, to register as an individual or team, or to explore sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.chicagodragonboats.com.

Contact:

Kevin & Sara Brown

Chicago Southland Dragon Boat Festival

219-895-0437 or kevin@chicagodragonboats.com

Thank you: Friends of the Pecatonica

For the great job you have been doing for the last decade and more to make the Pecatonica Illinois’s Friendliest Paddle and more! Please share how you accomplished all with IPC in an article for the next newsletter. We have many rivers in our state that could benefit by having a “Friends of ???? River,” so having your guidance on how you achieved your success would be wonderful.

And – for everyone reading this –  enjoy the FPRF Dec Newsletter.

Cheap Pork or Clean Rivers

By Don Mueggenborg

Spoon River

Most of us like a pork sausage with pancakes, or a slice of bacon with eggs (or almost everything). I enjoyed a pork roast at Christmas.

Since we are the Illinois Paddling Council, I can assume that most of the people reading this are paddlers.   We all enjoy a nice summer paddle on our favorite river (and almost any river I paddle is my favorite at that time).

At one time (and maybe it is still an annual event), Bob Evans invited people to paddle to his farm and enjoy his famous sausages. (Now that is a great way to enjoy both!)

If the price of pork is kept low, we may eat more. This is what the pork producers want. (Of course, their profits will grow as we eat more.)

In order to cut the cost of hog production and make more profits, the pork producers are threatening our rivers.

A three-page article in the Chicago Tribune (Dec 28, 2016) exposes the threat to our rivers.

Pork producers have been building mega-hog farms. The one mentioned in the Tribune article is for 20,000 hogs. No, I did not put in an extra zero.

Besides a lot of bacon, 20,000 hogs produce an awful lot of waste products. This is stored in concrete bunkers, eventually dried, and becomes fertilizer. In the meantime, it produces an unbearable stench.

Nearby wells and streams are threatened with pollution.

If one of the holding bunkers should rupture, be damaged in a tornado, overflow due to heavy rains, millions of gallons of toxic sludge will be set free (it has happened a few years back).

It will flow into our rivers, killing fish, and making the waters unfit to paddle on.

The closest river to the proposed mega-hog farm mentioned by the Tribune is the Spoon River, which flows west and south of Peoria into the Illinois River.

The Spoon is called by some the “Grand Canyon of Illinois” for its colorful red and yellow high clay banks. It is a river that is fun to paddle and was the site of a race I looked forward to for years. It is probably best known for the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.

ACTION TIME – the Illinois Department of Agriculture apparently has limited jurisdiction according to the article – so – IT IS TIME TO WRITE, EMAIL, CALL our state senators and representatives. Urge them to pass laws that will safeguard our rivers.

I will pay a little more for my spareribs, bacon, and sausages, to save our rivers.

 

The Fox River Deserves National Recognition

By Greg Taylor  

So, how many of you have ever paddled on a National River Water Trail? Well, there is a fair chance, if you have lived here in Illinois for a while and paddled different rivers to experience all that the Midwest has to offer. You might have!  The Rock, in north central Illinois, flowing from Wisconsin; The Kankakee, southeast of Chicago; and, part of The Ol’ Man, The Big Muddy, “The Mississippi,” down by St. Louis, are the only ones within 200 miles of Chicago. So, what is a National River Water Trail you ask? Well, if you Google it, it’s all there in color and a wealth of info I’ll leave you to have fun discovering. A quick snap shot is that a “Water Trail is a river or section that meets Federal standards for accessibility and positive human use.” I know that can be a loaded statement these days, heck almost any time in human History, but it’s getting better the more everyone realizes that we all need rivers that are for “positive human use” meaning, everyone agrees to its positive use.

Fox River Ecosystem Partnership, aka “FREP,” is currently moving forward to obtain Federal recognition for the Fox through the National Park Service, which is overseen by the Department of the Interior. The Wisconsin side has been mapped and is in the planning stages already; some of its infrastructure is already in place. Now it’s our turn. I’m assuming many of you have paddled some part of the Fox. If you haven’t, you’re missing a gorgeously calm, relaxing, and picturesque river. And it turns out an ancient river. There are dells on the lower Fox like the ones up in Wisconsin with the Ducks river tours – except you don’t have to pay, as you see them free. Only your desire and sense of adventure are needed. I’m sure there are other attributes that exist on the Fox, and that is why – and what – I am writing about and asking for here. I am the Volunteer Coordinator for ground-truthing the Illinois side of the Water Trail Certification. We are in the process of developing the tools that will be used for data submission. Currently, the options are to submit the data and observations through Google Drive, using smart phones or tablets or printing out a paper copy to submit. This is an easy one for anyone to enjoy and experience. Just enter the river, enjoy the paddle down stream, camping if there are areas that are clearly understood as camping spots, stop for lunch, site-see, whatever you find that you can enjoy or think others might find interesting. The more the better. Exit the river and fill out a short checklist and opinion survey, and you have just become part of a National Water Trail Certification process. That’s it. I’m looking into a token of gratitude item, something like a safety whistle with the water trail insignia on it, or something along those lines. We’ll see what I can push for. Stay tuned.

So that’s it. This is a long time coming. I know Ralph Frese started talking about this back in the mid-sixties for basically the same reasons and more than that we are working towards now. One step at a time, and this will come to fruition. Stay tuned, this should be a fun one.