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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.”

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)




Liveries and Boat Rentals

DISCLAIMER: This list is provided as a service to the public looking for paddling opportunities. This list is not an endorsement of their services.


Name and Website City, State, Zip Waterway Phone
Ayers Landing Wedron, IL 60557 Fox River 815-434-2233
C&M Canoe Rental Ottawa, IL 61350 Fox River 815-434-6690 or
Canoe the Kish at Larsen’s Landing Rockford, IL 61109 Kishwaukee River 815-516-9070
Canoe the Vermilion Streator, IL 61634 N. Vermilion/Illinois/Fox/I&M Canal 815-673-3218
Chicago Paddle Rentals Chicago, IL 60653 Lake Michigan 312-924-7994
Chicago River Canoe & Kayak Chicago IL 60302-2329 Chicago River/Skokie Lagoons/Busse Woods 847-414-5883 Lagoon
773-704-2663 Chicago River
Fever River Outfitters  Galena, IL 61036 Galena River 815-776-9425
Freeport Canoe Company Freeport, IL Pecatonica River 815-541-0869
Geneseo Campground Geneseo, IL 61254 Hennepin Canal 309-944-6465
Kankakee River Canoe Rental  Wilmington, IL Kankakee 815-476-2801
Kayak Chicago Chicago, IL 60622 Chicago River and Lake MI 312-852-9258
Kayak Morris Morris, IL 60450 Mazon 630-567-4653
Kishwaukee Canoe Rockford, IL 61101 Kishwaukee River(Cherry Valley to New Milford) (815) 968-0711
Offshore Marine Veron Hills, IL 60061 Des Plaines River 847-283-0400
Reed’s Canoe Trips Kankakee, IL 60901-2194 Kankakee River 815-932-2663
Rocktown Adventures Loves Park, IL 61111 Rock 630-506-5706 Aurora
815-636-9066 Rockford
Rutabaga Paddlesport Shop Madison, WI 53716 Various 608-223-9300
Schmidt’s Canoeing Service Elgin, IL 60123 Fox 815-968-0711
T.J.’s Bait/Tackle and Canoe Rental Oregon, IL 61061 Rock 815-732-4516
TipACanoe Canoe Rentals Burlington, WI 53105 Fox, Nippersink 262-342-1012
Vermilion River Rafting Oglesby, IL 61348 North Vermilion 815-667-5242
White Crane Rentals Carbondale, IL 62902 Cache River 618-201-4090
Wisconsin River Outings Boscobel, WI 53805 Wisconsin River 608-375-5300


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