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From the Presidents Desk

Please Renew your membership in the IPC

The IPC is a membership based organization whose mission is to advocate for all aspects of paddling throughout the state of IL.  Your membership funds our activities.  Paddling Clubs become members and as a result their members are a Paddling-Club Member of the IPC.  Member-Paddling-Clubs have the ability to appoint a Voice which becomes a liaison between the IPC board and the Paddling Clubs board.   Paddling Club Membership is $30 plus $1 for each club member.

Supporting Membership is for individuals or families that want to support the IPC.  Supporting memberships provide a vote in the annual election of officers for the board.  Individual Membership is $15.

Of course, if you want to make an additional donation, please feel free.  You can either target the donation for a specific activity of the IPC or to our general revenues.

Please Click Here to renew or become a new member:


And the results of the survey are:

Too early to tell.  We need more survey participants.  Please Click Here to take 10 minutes to complete the survey!


See you at Canoecopia—Next Year!

Why not this year?  Staffing a table at Canoecopia is one of our most volunteer intensive events every year.  We need to count on volunteers to help staff the table, prepare literature etc. for the event, setup the table before the event starts early Friday, and take down the table after the event is over after the event is done.  This year the Primary Organizer had a work-conflict with the dates of the show.  There were concerns about finding enough volunteers to cover the requirements.  The decision was made to take a year off from the show.

It isn’t too early to start planning for next year.  CanoCopia 2018.  Please contact me if you want to help out with this, or any other volunteer opportunities at the IPC!


Tom Eckels, President, Illinois Paddling Council






Paddling Ambassadors needed to staff tables at Events

Weather’s warming up!  It’s time to go paddling!  
It is also the time to hold paddle sports related events.  Many of these events request the IPC to staff an informational table or booth.  Last year we participated in at least a dozen such events, passing out literature, and when electricity is provided, running the dam simulator. 
We need help keeping up with all of the requests we receive.   It really is a fun way to meet a lot of people, and help promote the sport to new people.  
Please contract our Director of PR and Marketing: Sigrid Pilgrim at spconsult@comcast.net if you would want to spend a day or two representing paddlesports and the IPC.
We have a few open board-level positions we are looking to recruit.  A voice serves the role of a Liaison between the special paddling interest they represent and the IPC board.
Currently open positions include a voice for Southern IL paddlers, Flat Water Paddlers, NorthWest Il Paddlers, Sea Kayakers, and paddle sports businesses.
Our Member clubs are also invited to appoint a voice of their paddling club to serve on our board.
Tom Eckels
President, Illinois Paddling Council

Happy New Year 2017

New Year—New Board


Happy New Year!  I hope it brings lots of good opportunity for some great paddling!  For the new year, lets welcome in our new board:


Elected Officers:

President: Tom Eckels

VP: Scott Hewitt

Secretary: Jennifer Satorius

Treasurer:  Don Mueggenborg

Directors: Andy Cocallas, Greg Taylor, Jeff Fitch,        Roger Schamberger, Sigrid Pilgrim


​For a full list of board members, along with contact information can be found on our website.


Paddlers Survey: 


​Along with a newly elected board comes the opportunity to review our 3-year strategic plan.  A couple of years ago, we sought input from the paddling community by way of a paddlers survey.  This input is invaluable in helping us set our priorities and goals for the future.  It is time to reach out again and ask how we are doing, and what we can do to improve.  The Survey is available Here and will be open through end of March.


​Of course, you can contact any board member at any time to discuss your input into the IPC.​


​Coffee and Conversation:


​I will also be scheduling some coffee-and-conversation events between now and April.  These social events can also provide an informal way to provide input​​ and learn more about the IPC and our programs.  Look for them on our Events Page



Promote your Paddling Events


I would like to announce an enhancement to our website.  Anyone can now create a login-id to the site.  With a login-id, anyone can submit paddling events to our calendar of events.  Any event submitted should be open to the general paddling-public, and not just a specific group or club.  Please make sure to provide the full information about the event, including your contact information to answer any questions.  ​


Help Wanted–Web Master


We are always looking for people who want to get involved with the IPC.  We have an immediate need for a Web-Master.  Our Web-Master will maintain the Web-Site, and provide tech support to the board members using our online resources such as our Facebook Page, Vertical Response for our newsletter, and maintain our Yahoo Group board-email-list.


​The Web Master is not expected to generate the content for the Web, Social Media, newsletter, etc.  The Web Master is expected to help support the board members who are generating the content.


The Web Master is the Chair of our board Web Committee and is welcome to recruit assistant web masters to assist with the effort.


Read a full Volunteer Job Description and volunteer:


Questions:  email Tom Eckels:  president@illinoispaddling.org

IPC Growth and Expansion

From the President’s Desk: Growth and Expansion of the IPC

For many of us, paddling has become more than just a hobby or a sport. It becomes a way of life. We chose where we live so we have access to water! We pick our cars for the roof rack and gear space! Our vacation time is spent around the next paddling adventure or excursion. Rivers up…surfs up? Great—call in sick…time to go paddling!

Does this sound at all familiar? Do you want to see Illinois become a more paddle-friendly state? Improve and add access to paddleable lakes, rivers, and streams? Promote paddling safety? End arbitrary river closures? Provide stewardship to Illinois paddleable waterways? Promote paddlesports competition? See more youth activity in paddling?

Whatever your paddling interests and passions, the IPC could use your help! There are several ways to give back to our paddling lifestyle:


The IPC sets up an informational display at many paddling related events. Staffing these displays is a great way to get involved. You meet lots of great people while sharing your passion for paddling!

Water TrailKeepers provides stewardship for Illinois Paddleable Waterways. It is very rewarding to see a large pile of trash you pulled out of the river, knowing it is being disposed of properly! We have plenty of opportunities to get involved.

Paddling safety initiatives such as Paddlers Patrol and the Paddling Safety Task-force give paddlers an opportunity to promote safety.

Stepping up the level of participation, there are a number of Voice positions open. A voice is a board level position that serves as a liaison between a specific paddling community and the IPC board. Each Member Club appoints a Voice to the IPC board. Traditionally there are voices for specific Paddling Disciplines such as White Water, Sea Kayaking, Flat Water Paddling, Parks & Forest Preserve Districts, and Water TrailKeepers. Additionally there are Regional Voice Positions for NorthEast IL, NorthWest IL, Central IL, and Southern IL.

Or perhaps you have another idea or suggestion for how you want to get involved?

 I will be organizing several coffee-and-conversation events again this off-season. These would be a great opportunity to discuss your involvement in IPC activities. Of course you can also contact me directly.


Tom Eckels

President, Illinois Paddling Council



From the President’s Desk Year In Review and Looking Forward



Wow, Has it been a year already? At the beginning of the year I discussed the following five priorities for the IPC, coming from last year’s paddlers’ survey


  • Development of Water Trails and Access Points.
  • Advocacy
  • Safety and Education
  • Stewardship
  • Our Web Page and Online Presence


So how have we done? Some Highlights of the year




I would like to think that we are heading in the right direction, but still have a lot to do! Should anyone want to take a more active role in the IPC, I would welcome the increased participation. There are a number of board positions available. Please feel free to contact me so we can discuss how to get involved.




Tom Eckels,

President, Illinois Paddling Council

Program Manager, Illinois Water TrailKeepers




From the President’s Desk:


Paddling Safety Task Force


There have been far too many news stories about people going out in unsafe conditions and getting themselves in trouble or killed.  Two different groups of rafters got hung up on strainers on the DuPage at High Flood stage and had to be rescued. A tuber and a kayaker were killed on the Mackinaw at High Water.


It is very clear that many people do not understand the safety issues or the skills required to safely enjoy Illinois Paddleable waterways.  There have been a lot of discussions both on Facebook and via email lists about how to address this problem.


Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach:


Develop press outreach materials and a press outreach campaign to help steer media articles to discuss the safety issue.


Develop and distribute Online Safety materials.  Either develop new materials and link to already existing materials.  Make sure that the materials are available widely on the web and through social media.


Develop and Distribute Printed Safety materials at events by staffing informational tables, through retailers and liveries, etc.


Develop, promote, and support formal training opportunities for people to learn to enjoy our waterways safely and responsibly.


In our board meeting, the IPC voted to charter a Paddling Safety Taskforce.  However, this will be too big for the IPC to accomplish by ourselves. It will need to involve a coalition of Organizations, paddling clubs, paddle sports businesses, liveries, and individuals working on this task force.


Who else is in?




Sarah Hartman Fund for Paddle Sports Education


We are all saddened by the passing of a fellow paddler, Sarah Hartman.  As an Avid Sea Kayaker, Flat Water River Kayaker, White Water Kayaker, Sarah touched so many of our lives.  She was an incredible Athlete, coach, teacher, and friend.  Any words in this newsletter are inadequate to the task of expressing the loss.


Her Family has requested that Donations in her memory be made to either Team River Runner or Chicago Adventure Therapy.  We would ask people to give generously to these great organizations in her memory!


There is a web page available to express ones memories of Sarah at: http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/Batesville/guestbook.aspx?n=sarah-hartman&pid=175286131

The IPC Board voted to rename the Heartland Fund to the Sarah Hartman Fund for Paddle Sports Education.  The heartland fund was established several years ago to help with a small stipend to those who achieve level-3 ACA Instructor certifications (or the equivalent BCU Coaching Certificates).  More information for the Sarah Hartman Fund for Paddle Sports Education  is available on the IPC Website:  http://www.illinoispaddling.info/heartland-fund/


Tom Eckels



President, Illinois Paddling Council

A Call To Action

From the Presidents Desk

A Call to Action

It is an exciting time to be a paddler in Illinois–there are a lot of projects and programs working towards improving paddling in Illinois.  I would like to thank you in advance for taking some of your valuable time and supporting these activities, and others as they come up.  Please feel free to contact me and I will put you in contact with the appropriate people for these projects.

Several communities are looking to improve their waterfront presence, and we have the opportunity to provide input.  Notably there are active projects along the Fox River in St Charles, Carpentersville, and Algonquin.  There is another project on the KanKakee River in Wilmington, IL.

There are active projects for three Illinois Rivers to become recognized as National Water Trails.  There are committees working on the Sangamon River, Kankakee River, and Fox River for this designation.  Additionally there is a active signage project on Banner Marsh in Central IL establishing it as a locally recognized Water Trail

Proposed legislation passed the House and Senate and is awaiting the Signature of our Governor to help improve the Water Usage Stamp by exempting out-of-state paddlers from the Stamp when they participate in paddling events in IL. Our Water Usage Stamp task force will continue to work on promoting incremental improvements of the program.

IPC Programs Remain Active: The River Closure Task Force continues to work with the DNR to address arbitrary river closures based on ‘high water’.  Water TrailKeepers Continues to run cleanups;  Paddlers Patrol continues to provide safety at events. Our Newsletter Committee has been working hard to produce these newsletters, and our web committee has worked hard to update the IPC Website.

For those who have renewed or become new Members this year, Thank YOU! You directly support our continued involvement in these activities and more. If you have not yet become a member for 2015, it is not too late. Memberships now accepted on line:

Tom Eckels

President, Illinois Paddling Council

Program Manager, Illinois Water TrailKeepers



IPC Regional Voices Program

We are a diverse group of paddlers in Illinois.  White Water, Flat Water, Big Lakes, Small Lakes…Canoes, Kayaks, SUP…  Additional diversity can be found in the diverse backgrounds from which we come. There is geographical diversity to consider. We live in a big state.  There are many miles of lakes, rivers, creeks, streams, and swamps to paddle between Galena, Winthrop Harbor, and the Shawnee National Forests.  They flow through many towns, cities, and counties without caring one whit about the local politics.

A large part of the IPC mission is Advocacy and Access Development.  This means we need to worry about local politics as well as state wide politics.  The very diversity of these communities lends to the idea that solutions that work in one area may not work in another.  If we are going to represent the interest of paddlers throughout the state, the IPC has no choice but to expand our board.

With this in mind I am proud to announce the position of ‘Regional Voice’ on the IPC board.  We are looking for a Voice of North West IL, Voice of North East Il, Voice of Central IL, and Voice of Southern IL. The voice serves as a two-way conduit between their community and the IPC board. The ideal candidates would have strong ties to various paddling and other like-minded organizations in their communities.

If you are interested in serving as a Regional Voice, please email thomasreckels@gmail.com and jtginger@mac.com with the answers to the following three questions:


  1. Why do I want to be on the board?
  2. What do I hope to accomplish in the next year; the next three years?
  3. What special skills and abilities do I bring to the board?


Tom Eckels

President, Illinois Paddling Council

Program Manager, Illinois Water Trail Keepers