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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.

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.

Linda White, Former IPC president

By Don Mueggenborg

Linda White, former IPC president and champion marathon racer, died October 13, 2016.

Linda was IPC president from 1983 to 1984. She was IPC treasurer from 1985 to 1991.

When Linda took over as president, the Illinois paddling Council was going through one of its transition periods. She helped the transition go smoothly. She was a voice of reason as president and board member.

She seemed to always have a smile on her face and a laugh. She was a very upbeat person. After her health prevented her from racing, she often showed up at races just to say hi and encourage people.

Linda and her husband Doug showed up at the St Charles Canoe Club practice one day with an aluminum canoe. They would paddle by themselves until they were noticed by a couple paddlers who gave them pointers. Before you knew it, they were an active part of the paddling community.

They became champion racers. She often raced with her husband Doug, but also with others in Women’s or Mixed. Many a race I battled Linda and Ed Hahn, when Doug was racing C-1. Whoever she paddled with, they were usually the best on the water. Linda was probably the best woman paddler in Illinois for several years. She won mixed couples racing in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, and1989; she won women’s in 1984 and 1990. Linda was also one of the smartest paddlers I knew.

On a personal note:

It always amazed me how such a small woman could be such a good paddler. I have paddled with many people over the years, and with some of the best, you can feel the boat move when they make a stroke. When I raced with Linda, you hardly knew she was there, but we always finished first in our class, if not first in the race. I was glad to know her as a friend.

Plan Ahead – Trips for the Summer

Don Mueggenborg

Now is the time to begin thinking about summer and where you are going to canoe. Here are some of my favorite trips. For more specific directions, contact me through the newsletter.

 

Great Circle Route – 6 (or is it 7) rivers in one trip.

Channahon, IL. Here is a chance to paddle several bodies of water in one trip.

Take I-55 or Rt. 47 to Rt. 6.   Rt. 6 to Canal St., south to Bridge St.

  • Park by the bike route where the road goes over the I&M Canal (south of the main park – Bridge St.)
  • Put in the DuPage River, paddle out to the Des Plaines (careful of the barges), cross over to Grant Creek.
  • At the bridge, portage over to the slough, paddle across the slough to the Kankakee River.
  • The Kankakee joins the Des Plaines to form the Illinois. Cross over, steep portage to the I&M canal, and return to the parking lot.   (Alternative – paddle upstream (west side of river) until you come to the shelter – portage to the canal.)

The IPC cruised this route several years ago. Might be a good trip to do again as a group – IPC and friends. Invite other clubs.

Probably about four hours.

 

Des Plaines River Expedition

This is a little longer trip – take it in stages. It can be done in 3 or 4 long days or more – but you could conquer it in stages. You might even use a car/bike shuttle in several stages. If there were campgrounds along the way, it would be perfect; however, most of the area along the river is urban (although you don’t know it most of the time you are on the river) and there are no campgrounds.

A bike trail runs along much of the river, from Oak Spring Road on the north to Dam # One on the south. (Check it out, there may be an open spot that I missed in that area.)

There is also a bike trail from Columbia Woods in Willow Springs (“River Through History” historical re-enactment held in September), past Lemont, to Isle a la Cache (135th Street, Romeoville – museum of Voyageur and Indian History).

A portion of the river from Oak Spring Road to Dam # 2 is the site of the Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon (held on May 23 this year – canoemarathon.com).

The river from Harlem Ave. portage site downstream is the route traveled first by Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette. Although the river has been channelized, you can find remnants of the original river, including Goose Lake and the islands at Isle a la Cache.

You start at Russell Road at the state line and end the trip at Ruby Street in Joliet. (The Des Plaines River continues, but is really the Ship and Sanitary Canal.)

 

Cross Illinois by Canoe

Even more ambitious. You can paddle across Illinois by canoe with just one auto portage necessary. (If you can find where Bureau Creek enters the Illinois, you might make it without a mechanical portage.)

  • Start at the state line on the Kankakee River
  • Kankakee River to the Illinois
  • Illinois to the Hennepin Canal (some nice campsites on the canal)
  • Hennepin (Illinois-Mississippi Canal) to the Green River to the Rock (portage the dam by entering the I&M canal and back to the river) to the Mississippi (paddle upstream) to Sunset Park

We found campsites at:

  • Werner Bridge, Kanakee State Park (Day 1 for us)
  • Stratton State Park, Morris (Day 2)
  • Wyanet on the Hennepin Canal (Day 3 – we had to do a car shuttle to make this work)
  • Geneseo on the canal (Day 4)

We did it in 5 days – we paddled steadily.

My Bucket List for 2017

By Don Mueggenborg

I have paddled most of the rivers in Illinois, but am missing a few. So – my goal is to paddle one or two that I have missed. Want to join me? I would love to have some company.

Calumet and Thorne Creek

I paddled on the Calumet about 40 years ago, maybe longer than that. The section we paddled was interesting, but urban. Improvements have been made and a boat launch added.

Mackinaw

We drove over the river a couple weeks ago and I realized that I never followed up after Wally (can’t remember last name) gave me directions on where I could paddle and some warnings about where I should not paddle. (Seems some of the property owners have had poor experiences with some people who use canoes to do their littering – note I did not dignify them by calling them paddlers).

Southern Rivers

I have not paddled the Cache and Muddy Rivers, but that might be another year away.

 

Mark Your Calendars – May 21, 2017 – The 60TH Annual Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon

For the first time in event history – the river is free flowing – no more portaging dams!

Check out the pictures from the 2016 event (below) – great paddling, great food, great music, and great cameraderie – be part of a tradition – and make it your tradition.

For more information – check out www.canoemarathon.com

2017 Marathon flyer: DPM

2016 Marathon photos:

1. Music to Entertain
2. Pizzas in the Wood Oven
3. Pizza Options
4. Or Sandwiches
5. Fun Lunch
6. Valued Sponsor
7. The T-shirt Tent
8. Keeping Boats Safe
9. Inside the Canoe Corral
10. Coast Guard Station
11. Boat Numbers are a MUST
12. Guidance to t-shirts and patches
13. Checking the score board
14. Emergency help just in case
15. Finally done
16. Near the Takeout
17. Reading the Boat Numbers
18. Scoring the Finishers
19. The Course
20. The Finish Line
22. All done paddling – takeout
23. Race Head Quarters
24. Thank you all for hall
25. Dangers of Dams
26. Thank you Forest Preserves of Cook County
27. Trophies waiting for their recipients
29. Announcing the winners
30. Some winners
31. The Score Board
32. One of the best

 

Illinois’s Friendliest Paddle: Pecatonica River

By Don Mueggenborg

I just took a trip on the most crooked river in Illinois.   I hardly believed the bends and switchbacks.

This is November, I really didn’t paddle the river, I checked out the map on the internet.

Over the years, I have paddled and raced the Pec – I think I paddled all of it from the state line, through Freeport to the city of Pecatonica, to the Two Rivers landing.   Not at one time, but in stretches.

What do you find on the Pec?

First of all, you can see the work of a dedicated group of people who have built some pretty good canoe landings. Bobtown Landing and Damascus Landing, to name a couple.

Not too many years ago, one of the paddlers from the area ran into a problem with rules and regulations. You had to get permission ahead of time to use the park boat landing.  When he tried to take out after paddling, he found out about the law.  He and his friends decided to change things.

They asked for IPC input to convince the local authorities that this was not a good thing. (They also served on the IPC board)

Then they went ahead and started improving the landing sites on the river. They have been successful beyond their dreams.

They hold an annual race on the Pec also.

Second, you find a peaceful winding river. Not many road crossings, not many buildings, just miles of stream to paddle and enjoy.  Of course there is the wildlife – birds, deer.

Just the place for a get-away.

Use your maps, and you can paddle downstream and bike back to your vehicle over a trail or country roads.

If you encounter locals, they will be friendly.

Illinois’s Friendliest Paddle (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GqfjnQk-U4

 

  • Trip #1 – 6.2 miles – Brewster Landing to McConnell Bobtown Landing
  • Trip #2 – 7.9 miles – McConnell Bobtown Landing to McNeil’s Damascus Landing
  • Trip #3 – 8 miles – McNeil’s Damascus Landing to Wes Block Trail Head
  • Trip #4 – 6.2 miles – Wes Block Trail Head to Tutty’s Crossing in Freeport
  • Trip #5 – 1/2 mile or 3 mile – Tutty’s Crossing to Hancock Ave Boat Ramp or VFW
  • Trip #6 – 16 miles – Hancock Ave Boat Ramp to Ridott Fishing Park
  • Trip #7 – 7 miles – Ridott Fishing Park to Atten’s Landing
  • Trip #8 – 7 miles – Atten’s Landing to Pecatonica Village Park

 

Calling / Requesting / Soliciting All Paddlesport Event Organizers

With this year’s paddling season drawing to a close – except for some die-hard paddlers that love breaking ice – it is time to think about next year.

IPC has an events calendar where we list all paddlesports-related events we become aware of. This also helps in promoting your event(s).

If you are a paddlesport event organizer, or know someone who is – whether a competition/race, a river cleanup, a paddling festival or any other event involving paddlesport – canoe/kayak/SUP/raft- on a river, lake,  bayou (ok – we may not have some here in Illinois) – please forward such information to

news@illinoispaddling.org – or to spconsult@comcast.net

We would like to compile a master list for next year’s events to publish in upcoming newsletters with details (so include background on – and details of – the event). Hopefully, we can also avoid having major events take place on the same weekend.

If you have any questions, please forward these to spconsult@comcast.net

Thank you – Sigrid Pilgrim, Director, PR & Marketing

Just Around the Pointe – Guinness World Record Attempt

Dear Paddlers,

On March 13, 2017, Traci Lynn Martin, an experienced expedition kayaker and successful ultra-endurance competitive kayaker, will begin her attempt to set a new Guinness World Record.

“My goal,” explains Traci, “is to set a new Guinness World Record for the most miles kayaked in one year and in the process, to encourage and inspire individuals with chronic health conditions to reach for their dreams and don’t ever give up.”

In 2010, Traci was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a debilitating disease. Despite the diagnosis, she continues to race and has placed first in several competitions. She has set three course records in the mixed tandem division, and has set course records in the women’s solo division of various races.

The Stellar Tour de Force record-breaking attempt will include:

  • 2 Countries- USA and Canada
  • 5 Canadian Provinces – Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia
  • 14 States – Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Maine, Pennsylvania, New York,  New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey
  • The 5 Great Lakes
  • The St. Lawrence River Seaway
  • The Hudson River to Troy, New York
  • The Erie Canal System to Lake Oneida and back onto Lake Ontario (via the Oneida and Oswego Rivers)
  • 8,600 miles in 265 days!

At the same time, a documentary will be filmed. See the documentary trailer here: https://vimeo.com/184781882

View the website for the trip with details, route, and projected timeline: http://justaroundthepointe.com

Traci would love to have members of your group paddle along with her when she is in your area.  You will be able to track Traci’s progress and location on RaceOwl.com beginning in March 2017.  She is also in need of people who are willing to deliver supplies to her along the shoreline of her route.

For comments/questions, you may reach Traci at justartoundthepointe@gmail.com.

If you would like to be included in trip updates and future press releases about Traci Martin’s epic journey, please reply back with your agreement to “opt-in” and include your group/association name and email address.

We look forward to sharing Traci’s journey with you!

Mary Strope, Media Coordinator for Traci Martin

MaryStrope@comcast.net

 

Great Rivers of Chicago Roundtable Discussion

In early September of this year, advance word was distributed to a myriad of Chicago area organizations of a pending presentation of interest to those concerned with the future of Chicago’s three river systems: the Chicago River, the Calumet River, and the Des Plaines River. This presentation in late September was in effect a report of studies and discussions over recent years coordinated by the Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council and directed towards enhancing multiple uses of these urban waterways. In attendance at this Roundtable Discussion were around one hundred representatives from public and private organizations, including “yours truly” from the Illinois Paddling Council. While I doubt that heretofore many, if any, IPC members were aware of this developing study and planning effort, I am glad to report on what I have learned about the intended future of our “Great Rivers.”

Study objectives over the next 25 years include development of enhanced recreational use of these rivers and their adjoining shorelines, including paddlesport and even swimming. Indeed, there are some individuals now swimming in sections of these rivers, including some of the planning study leadership. In some other cities which now include radiation in the treatment of their wastewater, river swimming is even more commonplace.

However, enhanced and varied recreational opportunity is not the only objective of the planning effort. Some sections of all three of these rivers will provide for transportation of both people and enhanced barge traffic. Still other sections will evolve into increased residential, industrial, park land, commercial usage or in some cases, remain as forested riverfront for both human recreation and colonization by wildlife. The Metropolitan Planning Council is hoping now to expand and organize further the development of these riverfront resources.

Unaware in the 1970s and 80s that formal governmental interest was developing in the retention of a portion of this forested riverfront, some of the paddlesport community nevertheless became involved in the Cook County Clean Streams Committee. This group consisted of both river preservationists and government representatives who met monthly at Forest Preserve Headquarters to alert one another to sources of stream pollution and the accumulation of natural and man-made debris and to seek resolution of these intrusions on what few examples of “municipal wilderness” remained.

More recently, Don Mueggenborg and I have appeared at several meetings of the Forest Preserves of Cook County Board (aka the Cook County Board) to present requests on behalf of the IPC and the Des Plaines Marathon for removal of lingering low rise dams and the enactment of other measures to enhance use by the paddlesport community. Friends of the Chicago River has been a vigorous member of the Metropolitan Planning Commission and has very effectively engaged the public in river involvement and advocacy, as has the Chicago Harbor Safety Committee.

What Next? We all need to watch for word of further activity by the Metropolitan Planning Commission and offer whatever opinions and input we can muster! This planning effort is not solely an attempt to convert the 150 plus miles of the Chicago, Des Plaines, and Calumet Rivers within Chicago to the equivalent of wild and scenic rivers. Rather, it is an effort to work together to coordinate the planning and enactment of associated residential, industrial, transportation, and recreational uses along those many miles of riverfront.

And so, with all of this river-related Chicago planning underway on many fronts, what new projects were announced at the Roundtable for which public or private interests are actively moving ahead? Well, for the moment, none that I could tell. However, one idea expressed that seemed relatively possible to a non-planner like me was the establishment of barge-based floating cafes or theaters to attract more people to more sections of rivers than provided by current tour boats and canoe/kayak rental and launching sites. The potential interest of more people with more money and more imagination being exposed to a river does increase the likelihood of outcomes consistent with this planning.

Meanwhile, Lake County Forest Preserve has removed the two remaining low-rise dams on its Des Plaines River, rendering the DP River Canoe and Kayak Marathon dam-free for the first time in its 60-year-history.

We can certainly be grateful for the participation in this discussion of Josh Ellis, a Director of the Metropolitan Planning Council and leader of the Roundtable Discussion, and the four discussion panelists: Kim Wasserman-Nieto of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, John Quail – Director of Watershed Planning for Friends of the Chicago River, Arnold Randall – Superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, and David Reifman – Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.

…. Jack Snarr