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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


by Don Muggenborg

Illinois has more miles of river to paddle than any other state.  Have you paddled these rivers?  Match the River with the correct definition.  Don’s Answers Will be published in the next newsletter.

1)   Abe’s River                                              A) Chicago River


2)  Where Ralph 1st paddled                           B) North Branch


3)  Named for a Fur Trader                            C) Skokie Lagoons


4)  Think Red                                                  D) Upper Des Plaines


5)   Name makes you want to blush              E) Lower Des Plaines


6)  Savory Creek                                             F) SaltCreek


7)  Furniture                                                   G) DuPage


8)  Newest River Trail                                     H) Kankakee


9)  Eating Utensil                                           I) Fox


10)  Marathon                                                 J) Rock


11)  Carp Fence (my river)                             k) Apple


12)  large stone                                               L) Vermillion


13)  named for a wild onion                           M) Green


14)  state named after it                                  N) Spoon


15)  Frese Trail                                               O) Bureau Creek


16)  small mammal                                         P) Sangamon


17)  dirty (?)                                                   Q) Big Muddy


18)  Discovered by Joliet                               R) Mississippi


19)  flows to eastern border                            S) Little Wabash


20)  named for an Indian Tribe                      T) Kaskaskia, Iroquois, Pecatonica, etc


21)  think grass                                               U) Embarrass (pronounced Ambraw)


22)  Fruit                                                         V) Illinois


Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile returns to Chicago and Northwest Indiana

– October 6th: Indiana Dunes Outdoor Adventure Festival, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM at Jerry Pavese Park

– October 20th: Wolf Lake Fall Fest, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM at Wolf Lake Memorial Park

Canoemobile engages people in introductory outdoor experiences, enhances learning opportunities, cultivates a stewardship ethic, and creates pathways to pursue educational and career opportunities in the outdoors. We are thrilled to connect with your community!

Interested in volunteering? We’ll be working with school and youth groups all week; email canoemobile@wildernessinquiry.org for more information.

For more details – contact

Mary Mallinger, Program Coordinator
Wilderness Inquiry
www.wildernessinquiry.org • (612) 676-9422


US Government Reopens Boundary Waters Watershed

Almost a quarter-million acres of Superior National Forest lands that drain toward the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will soon be available for mine proposals again, after being protected for the past 18 months.

Learn more about this issue by reading the Quetico Superior Wilderness News here

Read More


 by Sigrid Pilgrim

IDNR’S Coastal Management Program in collaboration with Wilderness Inquiry held three paddling programs this summer, giving the general public an opportunity to experience paddling in voyageur style canoes. The last event was held at Waukegan Harbor, which also inaugurated a new, ADA compliant, canoe and kayak launch.


From IDNR’s newsletter:

Thank you to our Explore the Lake Michigan Water Trail Partners!

On August 3, we celebrated the final Explore the Lake Michigan Water Trail event of 2018 at the new ADA accessible canoe and kayak launch in Waukegan Harbor. These family-focused events included guided, beginner-friendly paddling experiences, water safety demonstrations, fishing, nature crafts, walking tours of coastal habitats, and more – all provided by more than 25 local, state, and federal partners! These events would not have been possible without the support of the following agencies and organizations:

With the event series complete, we will begin a series of public meetings to gather community input as part of a visioning process for the approximately 10-mile stretch of the Lake Michigan water trail from the City of North Chicago to the Wisconsin border. For more information about the upcoming planning process, visit: https://paddleillinoiswatertrails.org/events.


By Steve LaPorte

I just became aware of a great tool for those of us who lead river trips.  Like most people, I have been looking at the USGS Streamflow data and the weather forecast and trying to guess what is going to happen with the river level.  It turns out that NOAA has a computer model that considers several relevant factors and makes a prediction, going several days out.  This is going to be a useful tool for anyone who has to make a go / no-go decision due to concern about high water.

To access the predictive graph, go to https://water.weather.gov/ahps/rfc/rfc.php , click on the region, and click on the gauging station.  You will get a graph like this.  (There is more useful information below the graph that wouldn’t fit on the image.)

Pass it on – happy to comply – thank you Steve