New water trail to bring paddlers and economic benefits to Rockford, Belvidere and area

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Watertrails bring many benefits to surrounding areas as well as providing greater access and information to paddlers.

Paddle a beautiful 7.5-mile stretch of the Kishwaukee River starting at Hickory Bill’s Island in Belvidere and ending at Baumann Park in Cherry Valley. Participants will experience some of the highest-quality aquatic habitat in northeastern Illinois and learn about the Kishwaukee River Water Trail in Boone and Winnebago counties as well as the vision for extending the trail eastward into McHenry County. Paddlers will receive a copy of the map “A Vision of the Kishwaukee River Water Trail.” This map displays the established and proposed launch sites along the mainstream Kishwaukee, along with summaries of actions needed to improve and extend the existing trail.

The event is set for Sunday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The trip is expected to take approximately three hours on the water.

Meet at Hickory Bill’s Island at 100 S. Appleton Rd. in Belvidere, to unload your canoe. There is very limited parking at Hickory Bill’s Island, so participants will then take their cars to park at Spencer Park in Belvidere, which can be accessed from Appleton Road just north of Hickory Bill’s Island, or to 101 W. Locust in Belvidere or to the take-out at Baumann Park on South Walnut Street in Cherry Valley. To access Baumann Park from Route 20, go south on Mill Road and turn east on State Street. Then, turn south on Walnut Street and proceed into the park.

In case of bad weather or high water: Check the Web site before the trip to make sure it has not been canceled because of high water or bad weather. Cancellation information will be posted by Friday, April 27. Sunday, May 6 has been designated as a rain date in the event that April 29 is not suitable for paddling. Any cancellation information for May 6 would be posted on the same web page by Friday, May 4.

Insurance fee: There will be a $10 event insurance fee for participants who are not members of the American Canoe Association.

from the April 25-May 1, 2007, issue

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