The New Years Day paddle has been a tradition in the local paddling community for many years. The downstream paddle south from the Skokie Lagoons area lasts for about two hours. Shuttle buses are available and paddlers gather at a local restaurant afterwards. The address I have for the put-in from Time Out Chicago is: Forestway Dr. and Willow Rd. north of Willow Rd, Northfield, IL. However, Google Maps says this location is in Winnetka. In any event, the paddle is great fun for both kayakers and canoeists.
Below is information from the Chicagoland Canoe Base. If others have more information about the paddle, please post a comment.
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HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM CHICAGOLAND CANOE BASE
Paddlers familiar with the New Year's Day launch site at the Willow Road Dam at Skokie Lagoons will be in for a surprise. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is planning to improve the existing dam structure to minimize flooding of the lower islands and to redo the sea walls below the dam. Unfortunately, all the trees lining the trail to the dam had to be removed, a requirement of the Illinois Dept. of Water Resources. It seems that the trail lies atop an earthen dam and trees are seen as a hazard to the integrity of the structure. As the dam has withstood almost 70 years of tree growth and the depth of water behind it is only a few feet deep, we do not know why an exception could not have been made instead of desecrating a green shoreline like this.
LET'S START OUT THE NEW YEAR THE RIGHT WAY: JOIN US ON THE NORTH BRANCH ON JANUARY 1st 2008
Details: Most participants own their own canoes and kayaks but rentals are available. Call 773-777-1489 for more details. Participants can organize their own car shuttles as in past years and buses also will be available, courtesy of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. The District is also furnishing porta-potties and will have a sign-up tent at the start. Please be sure to sign in as we need to know the number of participants to encourage more recognition of paddlesports on our area waters.
Some start as early as 8 am and some show up as late as 10 or 11 am. A change of clothing in a waterproof bag is suggested. Trip length is roughly 6 1/2 miles. We plan to meet afterwards at Hackney's on Lake Street in Glenview for some good food and camaraderie.
Plan to join fellow canoeists and kayakers on the 22nd Annual New Years Day float down the scenic North Branch of the Chicago River, starting at Skokie Lagoons and ending at Linne Woods in Morton Grove. We encourage all area paddlers to join us on this event as a strong turnout sends a strong message to our elected and regulatory officials that our area waterways are a tremendous recreational resource that is underused and can be used year-round. The annual New Years Day paddle is sponsored by the Cook County Forest Preserve District and is part of the ongoing effort by the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources, the Open Lands Project, the Illinois Paddling Council and the Chicagoland Canoe Base to develop watertrails in our six county area. The North Branch of the Chicago River flowing through our scenic forest preserves needs our attention and help. For more information on how you can help, call Ralph Frese at 773-777-1489 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's start out the New Year the right way: Join us on the North Branch, January 1, 2008.