Please check out our new "Safety Center" (link to the left under "Pages")!
There are many resources for kayakers online addressing safety issues, cold water paddling, and skills and techniques. Here is a quick overview of some essentials no kayaker should forget - or take for granted.
Please add any additional resources under "Comments" - or email us to have information included on this page. We appreciate your feedback. Safe paddling!
The 2007 IPC Annual Banquet and Meeting will be held at White Fence Farm, 1376 Joliet Road, Romeoville, IL 60446 at 5:30 pm. on Saturday November 17! That may seem early for a Banquet to begin, but it follows an afternoon-long meeting of representatives of Illinois paddlesport clubs, agencies and businesses that adjourns at 4:30 when the "cocktail hour" begins, at which all are welcome! So .... come early, stay late is the motto of the day!!
In addition to the sumptuous chicken dinner, for which the Farm is renown, the meeting will include presentation of the 2007 Illinois State Racing Championship Awards and Paddler of the Year Award, and a discussion by Charlie Zine of the Fox River Whitewater Park proposal under consideration in Aurora.
There will also be a brief synopsis of the earlier paddlesport meeting and the new Water TrailKeepers Program, both of which are introduced in the recent June-Aug IPC Newsletter.
Cost of the chicken dinner will be $17.50 per person, or $13.50 for the chicken-free vegetarian dinner, payable by November 10 to IPC, and mailed to treasurer Jack Snarr, 2316 Prospect Ave, Evanston IL 60201.
For more information or to RSVP via email, contact Jack.
It's getting cooler out as fall sets in...and winter approaches rapidly. Sniff. With this in mind, pool sessions are the place to be! Keep kayaking even when the water outside freezes over, improve skills, and be ready to take on whitewater rapids, high river levels, and huge waves (ok, maybe) when it warms up again in '08!
Here's a list of upcoming Chicago-area events (thanks to all CASKA members who posted these to our Yahoo group - and please post anything missing in "Comments"!):
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Oak Park YMCA offers kayak classes. They're taught by the Chicago Whitewater Association on Sunday nights from 6 to 7:30 p.m. $124 for members and $180 for nonmembers for a 10-week class. All gear is provided; you just need to show up. The class is half rolling, half strokes. Even though it's geared toward whitewater skills, everything translates to sea kayaking (particularly if you paddle in currents). And besides, what could be better than another opportunity to paddle during the winter? Call ASAP if you want to enroll: 708.383.5200. Class starts 10/14. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Geneva Kayak's pool sessions start in October 27th at the West Chicago High School pool. These bi-monthly sessions are a great way to learn new skills and keep skills polished during the colder months. Several instructors in the pool during these sessions so you can work on an array of skills including eding, bracing, rolling, rescues, and strokes. Pool Sessions have a limit of 12 participants, please call 630-232-0320 to make reservations. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Lattof Y in DesPlaines is offering introductory kayak lessons and open pool sessions on Tuesday nights 7:30 to 9:30 pm starting October 30th and continuing through December 11th. The cost for the 7 lesson series is $140 for non Y-members or $20/session. People who come to practice on their own without lessons will pay $15/session.
Call Lattof Y to find out about registering: 847-296-3376 Call or email Dan Leigh for details about the lessons: 847-392-8190 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Naperville North High School - Beginner River Kayaking Class 11/4/2007- 12/2/2007 (5 weeks) Sundays, 9:00 - 11:00 AM Cost: $125 Contact/Registratio n: Brian Pour or Randy Hetfield Notes: Send checks to: NNHS Aquatics Dept. 899 North Mill St. Naperville, IL 60563 Attn: Brian Pour
After the New Year, the pool will be open Sunday mornings for open boating. Check out CWA’s website (Learning tab) for up to date info. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How does the water quality of Chicago-area waterways affect the health of paddlers and other recreational users? A new study aims to find out, and you can sign up to be a test subject! Look for survey recruiters at the Sept. 16 Flatwater Classic.
The following Resolution regarding
the Great Lakes and the British Petroleum (BP) expansion issue has
been referred to the U.S. House Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure, and will hopefully be
passed this week by the U.S. House of Representatives. Please
take a moment to review it and let your Representative know today you
support H.CON.RES.187 which is of
critical Importance to the Great Lakes!
The Resolution was sponsored by
Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois. However, as of this
alert posting, no Indiana Representatives have signed on as sponsors
of this resolution. If you are from Indiana, please urge your
Representative to co-sponsor the Resolution.
The Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice has initiated a boycott of BP because of BP's plans to increase the levels of pollutants it discharges into Lake Michigan. Information and a chance to sign another petition here:
BP gets break on dumping in lake Refinery expansion entices Indiana
By Michael Hawthorne Tribune staff reporter
July 15, 2007
The massive BP oil refinery in Whiting, Ind., is planning to dump significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan, running counter to years of efforts to clean up the Great Lakes.
Indiana regulators exempted BP from state environmental laws to clear the way for a $3.8 billion expansion that will allow the company to refine heavier Canadian crude oil. They justified the move in part by noting the project will create 80 new jobs.
Under BP's new state water permit, the refinery -- already one of the largest polluters long the Great Lakes -- can release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan each day. Ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish, while sludge is full of concentrated heavy metals.
The refinery will still meet federal water pollution guidelines. But federal and state officials acknowledge this marks the first time in years that a company has been allowed to dump more toxic waste into Lake Michigan.
BP, which aggressively markets itself as an environmentally friendly corporation, is investing heavily in Canadian crude oil to reduce its reliance on sources in the Middle East. Extracting petroleum from the thick goop is a dirtier process than conventional methods. It also requires more energy that could significantly increase greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
Environmental groups and dozens of neighbors pleaded with BP to install more effective pollution controls at the nation's fourth-largest refinery, which rises above the lakeshore about 3 miles southeast of the Illinois-Indiana border.
"We're not necessarily opposed to this project," said Lee Botts, founder of the Alliance for the Great Lakes. "But if they are investing all of these billions, they surely can afford to spend some more to protect the lake."
State and federal regulators, though, agreed last month with the London-based company that there isn't enough room at the 1,400-acre site to upgrade the refinery's water treatment plant.
The company will now be allowed to dump an average of 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of sludge into Lake Michigan every day. The additional sludge is the maximum allowed under federal guidelines.
Company officials insisted they did everything they could to keep more pollution out of the lake.
"It's important for us to get our product to market with minimal environmental impact," said Tom Keilman, a BP spokesman. "We've taken a number of steps to improve our water treatment and meet our commitments to environmental stewardship. "
BP can process more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily at the plant, which was built in 1889 by John D. Rockefeller' s Standard Oil Co. Total production is expected to grow by 15 percent by the time the expansion project is finished in 2011.
In sharp contrast to the greenways and parks that line Lake Michigan in Chicago, a string of industrial behemoths lie along the heavily polluted southern shore just a few miles away. The steady flow of oil, grease and chemicals into the lake from steel mills, refineries and factories -- once largely unchecked -- drew national attention that helped prompt Congress to pass the Clean Water Act during the early 1970s.
Paul Higginbotham, chief of the water permits section at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, said that when BP broached the idea of expanding the refinery, it sought permission to pump twice as much ammonia into the lake. The state ended up allowing an amount more than the company currently discharges but less than federal or state limits.
He said regulators still are unsure about the ecological effects of the relatively new refining process BP plans to use. "We ratcheted it down quite a bit from what it could have been," Higginbotham said.
The request to dump more chemicals into the lake ran counter to a provision of the Clean Water Act that prohibits any downgrade in water quality near a pollution source even if discharge limits are met. To get around that rule, state egulators are allowing BP to install equipment that mixes its toxic waste with clean lake water about 200 feet offshore.
Actively diluting pollution this way by creating what is known as a mixing zone is banned in Lake Michigan under Indiana law. Regulators granted BP the first-ever exemption.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been pushing to eliminate mixing zones around the Great Lakes on the grounds that they threaten humans, fish and wildlife. Yet EPA officials did not object to Indiana's decision, agreeing with the state that BP's project would not harm the environment.
Federal officials also did not step in when the state granted BP another exemption that enables the company to increase water pollution as long as the total amount of wastewater doesn't change. BP said its flow into Lake Michigan will remain about 21 million gallons a day.
In response to public protests, state officials justified the additional pollution by concluding the project will create more jobs and "increase the diversity and security of oil supplies to the Midwestern United States." A rarely invoked state law trumps anti-pollution rules if a company offers "important social or economic benefits."
In the last four months, more than 40 people e-mailed comments to Indiana officials about BP's water permit. One of the few supportive messages came from Kay Nelson, environmental director of the Northwest Indiana Forum, an economic development organization that includes a BP executive among its board of directors. She hailed the company's discussions with state and community leaders as a model for others to follow.
Nearly all of the other comments, though, focused on the extra pollution in Lake Michigan.
"This is exactly the type of trade-off that we can no longer allow," wrote Shannon Sabel of West Lafayette, Ind. "Possible lower gas prices (I'll believe that when I see it!) against further contamination of our water is as shortsighted as it is irrational."
From Sea Kayaker Magazine's newsletter, the Coast Guard is implementing a new VHF monitoring system that incorporates robust signal-locating capability that should vastly improve search and rescue operations.
Called Rescue 21, the new system will allow the USCG to locate a radio signal of only 1 Watt and 2 seconds duration -- such as from a kayaker whose battery is failing.
The bad news -- according to the USCG website, as Rescue 21 is rolled out nationally, implementation in Grand Haven and Milwaukee is not scheduled to begin/complete until 2008/2011.
The Illinois Paddling Council is proud to announce the creation of a new project that will provide stewardship for designated watertrails in Illinois.
Illinois Water TrailKeepers will work to maintain clear passage on watertrails by training volunteers to remove large woody debris from streams in a safe and environmentally sensitive way on those streams where no one is currently doing stream maintenance. Volunteers will also identify, contact and establish relationships with streamowners and coordinate stream maintenance with those Forest Preserve Districts, townships and county’s that do have trained crews to maintain streams. Paddlers are asked to report problems they encounter to the Illinois Paddling Council at www.illinoispaddling.org.
IPC Conservation Chairman Tom Richardson will manage the program. Tom points out that DuPage County has a program to maintain streams. But it can be daunting for a paddler to track down the right person to whom to report a problem. TrailKeeper volunteers can serve as an easily identifiable contact for paddlers and coordinate maintenance with the appropriate authority or our trained crew.
So this is a call for watertrail maintenance volunteers who are willing to commit to at least one full day training session in June and as many as one workday a month between July and October. The first meeting and training will take place at the Forest Preserve District of Cook County's Volunteer Resource Center (6100A N. Central, just north of the North Branch on the west side of Central, a few blocks south of Devon) on Saturday, June 23, 2007 beginning at 9:30am.
This is also a call for TrailKeeper volunteers who will take responsibility for a stream or a stretch and work for a minimum of one year as a stream steward.
And finally, this is a call for all paddlers to play an important part in this effort by being the “eyes and ears” on our watertrails and report obstructions and safety hazards.
This year is the 50th Anniversary Des Plaines River Marathon!
This Sunday, May 20th, some 2,000 people will gather in Northern Illinois to paddle an enjoyable 18.5 miles on the beautiful and historic Des Plaines River. There are multiple classes for kayaks and canoes, along with an open racing class and a non-competitive class for those who do not wish to be scored.
This event is a great attraction not only for the race itself, but provides a day for people to get together and enjoy a day in celebration of paddle sports. While there are some serious racers at this event, one will also find that a large percentage of the attendance is there to paddle at their own pace- not to mention the "best decorated boat" contest, which also brings lots of laughs to the event.
This event is put on with the cooperation of the Lake and Cook County Forest Preserve Districts. Shuttles are provided along with vendors/picnic in place at the end of the race. If you think it would be fun to padde 18.5 miles on the Des Plaines, this event will ensure your enjoyment. For details, check out the Des Plaines Canoe Marathon website. See you on the water!
Greg Weiss been involved with building and teaching the
building of skin boats for several years, and co-runs the annual “lake
superior traditional ways gathering” (http://tradtionalways.org with
a new site coming soon)The gathering is located on a
fantastic private beach near Ashland, WI. Every year he brings his boats and
invites other traditional boat builders and paddlers. This year he extends an invitation to CASKA member as well to attend.
He is inviting folks with traditional boatbuilding and/or
paddling experience, and hopes to have a nice small “fleet” on the
beach. Boat building instructors could pick up a few new clients, provide
demonstrations, etc. The web site (presently under complete overhaul) can
accept sponsor advertisements as well - those interested should contact Greg directly.
Goal is getting people here and
introducing them to the world of traditional kayaking. Please visit the traditionalways.org website or e-mail Greg if you are interested in more information or possibly attending this event.