CASKA hopes you can join us and our friends in the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association for an afternoon paddle on the lake, a beach picnic, and a policy meeting with the National Park Service on Tuesday, June 10.
CASKA is supporting NWIPA as they continue their longstanding efforts to protect and designate a water trail on the East Branch of the Little Calumet River. Please come for the National Park Service meeting at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at 6 PM.
Prior to the meeting, CASKA will host the paddle and picnic. The forecast is clear and calm. We will not paddle far from the beach launch spot so latecomers can join the group.
Plan to meet at 1:30, launch at 2:00. Land by 4:00 to eat and make the 6:00 meeting.
Location is Porter Beach Access, Porter, IN, just west of Indiana Dunes State Park. Take I-94, US 20, or US 12 (Dunes Hwy) to Indiana Rte. 49. Go north on 49, it will become CR 25E. Turn left onto State Park Rd, til it ends. Turn right on Waverly Rd., turn left on Roskin Rd, and turn right on Wabash Ave. Drive north on Wabash until your hat floats.
Please email Bill Burton, freewilly577~at~icloud.com so we can plan food and beverages and know to look for you on the beach or the water.
(Meeting and water trail information follows, courtesy of NWIPA.)
Paddler Alert: Public Meeting on the future of the East Branch of the Little Calumet River Water Trail in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
NW Indiana and neighboring paddlers,
On Tuesday, June 10th from 6:00 p.m until 8:00 p.m. at the Indiana Dunes Visitors Center located at 1215 N. State Road 49 in Porter, IN., the National Park Service is hosting a public meeting on the future East Branch of the Little Calumet River.
The NPS is preparing a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the "East Branch of the Little Calumet River use Plan" for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. This is a major milestone on the road to the possible development of a water trail on the East Branch of the Little Calumet River.
The public meeting is partially as a result of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association's efforts over the past five years to develop a 16 mile continuous water trail along the East Branch of the Little Calumet River from the Heron Rookery to Lake Michigan in Portage. Currently, most of the East Branch is heavily chocked with log jams where is is unusable for the most part by paddlers. NWIPA, working with dozens of partners have helped create many new public access points along the river laying the ground work for a future water trail.
The draft EA is being prepared to ensure that the National Lakeshore reviews all impacts and opportunities related to recreational use of the Little Calumet River prior to deciding on the course of action.
If you would like to some day be able to paddle the East Branch of the Little Calumet River, it is very important that you attend this meeting.
The NWI Paddling Association and its partners believe strongly that the Little Calumet River is potentially NW Indiana's second crown jewel next to Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes themselves. Benefits of the East Branch of the Little Calumet water trail include such things as:
- New recreational opportunities for paddlers, anglers, and others through the the development of a water trail along the Little Calumet River;
- Economic development opportunities as a result of the opening of the water trail including local recreational business development, tourism, attracting new businesses wishing to locate in an area with ample recreational opportunities;
- Improved local health as a result of having recreational opportunities for people wishing to get outside and exercise utilizing the potential new water trail;
- The development of new outdoor educational opportunities with youth and adults alike by organizations such as the Dunes Learning Center, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, NWIPA, and many others;
- Improvement of the river itself. We believe that addressing the severe log jams that exist utilizing ecologically responsible techniques such as the palmiter method of steam restoration with improve of the river resource for both fishing and paddlers alike. Currently the river is being chocked with log jams at an ever increasing number. With the die off of ash trees due along the river as a result of the Emerald Ash Borer, we believe that better management of the river will result in better water quality through decreased erosion and sedimentation in areas where severe log jams are negatively impacting the resource;
- Land conservation: Organizations have been working over the past 5 years on preserving and restoring the natural areas that exist between the Heron Rookery and the lakefront in Portage. Approximately 1400 acres have been preserved along this corridor just in the past few year;
- Better fishing habitat: Utilizing ecologically responsible methods of stream restoration, not only will the river be better for paddling, but there will be better fish habitat will be created;
- As a result of the water trail in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and surrounding lands, there will be more public access for fishing, paddling, and other recreational pursuits resulting in a better quality of life for all of Northwest Indiana.
At this time, we believe that this is the only public meeting scheduled to discuss the East Branch of the Little Calumet River EA. The NPS Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is asking for your input into this process. Please come out to have your voice heard if you would like to one day be able to paddle the beautiful East Branch of the Little Calumet River.
Northwest Indiana Paddling Association