This fund assists the development of instructor trainers and advanced level Instructors (ACA Level III or above) and certified instructors residing in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.
A one-time $500 honorarium will be awarded upon completion of necessary training and presentation of evidence of certification in any paddling discipline as:
An American Canoe Association Instructor Trainer, or Instructor Trainer Educator
A United States Canoe Association Trainer
A British Canoe Union Level 5 Assessor
A one-time $150 honorarium will be paid to those individuals who present evidence of certification in any paddling discipline as:
An American Canoe Association Instructor Level III or above
A British Canoe Union Coach 3
These honoraria are designed to reimburse successful trainees for part of the costs incurred during the certification process. No one may receive more than one honorarium. Awards will be made until the fund is depleted.
To ensure the fund will not be depleted – watch for a special raffle announcement to benefit the fund. We gratefully acknowledge the following contributions made already:
LL BEAN – $200 Gift Certificate
NORTHWEST PASSAGE – Two SUP class certificates valued at $50 each
If you are a business – please consider contributing to the raffle with a product donation or gift certificate.
Wow, its only March, and already there are more than 20 cleanups on the calendar. Water TrailKeepers is happy to partner with other organizations, promote stewardship activities, recruit volunteers, and when we can provide additional support. Contact WTK Program manager Tom Eckels at firstname.lastname@example.org to add your event to the calendar.
April 3, Upper DesPlaines River, Reach TBD
April 30, Upper DesPlaines River, Reach TBD
May 14, Willow Creek Cleanup
May 15, Upper DesPlaines River, Reach TBD
June 4, Little Calumet River
June 11, Upper DesPlaines River, Reach TBD
July 9, Upper DesPlaines River, Reach TBD
July 23, Fox River in St Charles
July 31, Pecatonica River Cleanup
Aug 6, Upper DesPlaines River, Reach TBD
Aug 6, Fox River in Oswego
August, Date TBD, Kishwaukee River in Boon County
Sept 10, Rock River Sweep
Sept 10, Upper DesPlaines River between Cook and Lake County
To promote the long-term viability of the program, we are running an Online Silent Auction. All auction proceeds support the Sarah Hartman Fund for paddlesports education. The Sarah Hartman fund has been established to provide support for individuals in the Midwest states of IL, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin who are certifying as ACA Level 3 (and above) instructors, ACA Instructor Trainers, or the appropriate BCU level Coach by providing a onetime grant to help offset some of the costs of certification. Information on the fund is available here:,
Items available in the auction include:
GREY OWL, CANADA, BEAVERTAIL PADDLE – 63” long, excellent condition – donated by the Pilgrims. Pickup in Evanston, or make arrangements
NORTHWEST PASSAGE – two certificates for a two-hour Stand Up Paddle-Board Adventure for one person – $50.00 value each – www.nwpassage.com – expires 10/11/16. Will mail to lucky winner
RUTABAGA – $100.00 Gift Certificate – www.rutabaga.com – valid in store. Will mail to lucky winner
ROCKTOWN ADVENTURES –Gift Certificate for Shuttle Kayak trip for 6 people on Fox River from Batavia to Aurora. $175.00 value – expires 10/31/16 – www.rocktownadventures.com. Will mail to lucky winner
LL BEAN – $200.00 Gift Certificate – www.LLBean.com – valid in store or online. Will mail to lucky winner
Canoecopia is the largest canoeing/kayaking/paddling show in the Midwest. Information about the show is available: www.canoecopia.com
The Illinois Paddling Council will have a booth at Canoecopia again this year, and we could use some help staffing t!. Staffing a booth is a fun and rewarding way to participate in Canoecopia, providing an unique opportunity to meet lots of paddlers and talk about paddling. (Almost but not quite as fun as going paddling!)
Not sure what to say? No problem. We will provide talking points.
The dam simulator, which has been displayed during the past 15 years at numerous events, continues to draw much attention. We will never know whether it has saved a life, but we believe that the visualization of the recirculation in a hydraulic has educated many, many people to the dangers of dams.
I have often been asked “where did the dam simulator come from,” so here is a brief history.
Back in 2000 when I chaired Paddling in the Park, the two-day paddlesports festival in Palatine, we used to have a planning session in late winter which Susan Sherrod also attended. She suggested building a dam simulator like her club, the Canoe Cruisers Association, once had. Susan developed the engineering drawings and provided a cost estimate for the parts needed. CWA member Jim Cronin applied for a grant from the Baxter Foundation, and Joel Neuman built the dam.
The rest is history. We received many requests to have the simulator present at various events, including several years at the State Fair in Springfield where it was in then Lieutenant Governor Quinn’s tent. One year we were asked to bring it to St. Louis for the ACA Whitewater Competition at Six Flags, and it was such a success, that we left it there and had another built for the Chicago area again. We still have many requests for the dam simulator from event organizers.
The late Marge Cline took great footage of the dam simulator during Paddling in the Park. We felt that this would be a great teaching tool if there was a way to make a video. Tom Lindblade, a skilled videographer, was able to do just that, adding footage of actual dams, appropriate music, and great educational voice over. The video was subsequently licensed to ACA, given this organization’s greater capacity to promote it through their Safety, Education and Instruction Committee.
We actively promoted the video through email and other efforts, and received many comments, e.g.:
From the Association of State Dam Safety Officials: “Do you mind if we make copies as several ASDSO members are intensely interested in low head dam safety issues and I imagine that many states would be interested in using the DVD as part of their outreach activities”
From IDNR: “It is my firm belief that actions like your video will have far more impact on the safety of the users of our waterways than anything the legislature can mandate”
And many other requests, notably from the Vice President of the European Life Saving Association and faculty member of the Leeds Metropolitan University, who asked to contribute an article for his Handbook of Safety andLifesaving and for permission to use the video in his lectures at the university.
If you would like to own a copy of the DVD, please send a $10.00 check made out to:
Illinois Paddling Council, and mail to Sigrid Pilgrim, 2750 Bernard Place, Evanston, IL 60201
The Dam Simulator can not only demonstrate the reversal in the hydraulic, but also other aspects:
1) Modifying the hydraulic (1st photo): This takes some ‘engineering’ time by placing large boulders into the lip of the dam and smaller riff-raff, until the reversal action is broken up. Use one side of the dam with the modification – the other side without – and demonstrate the difference.
2) Foot entrapment (2nd photo): Standing up in moving water deeper than knee-high can cause foot entrapment: feet get caught between rocks and the current pushes the person’s face over and into the water.
3) Strainers (3rd photo): Little sticks at the outflow, by wedging them between rocks, and watch what happens when people and objects float into them.
A river in flood stage. Even a river with a wide flood plane can be dangerous when it is in flood stage. Fast current. Cool water in the spring. Branches that were well above the paddlers’ head at normal water levels now become flow-throughs.
Rivers such as the upper Des Plaines, with its many twists and bends and low branches, can be especially dangerous.
We want to get out and paddle – but we want you around for the next newsletter. Please use caution.
It was an early spring day – sun shining, water up a little.
Time to get the rust off, get out on the river. In this case, it was the lower DesPlaines.
We launched at our favorite spot in Lemont and headed upstream. Peanut Butter Andersen in the stern.
When we paddled together, we took turns paddling bow or stern. That way we were more aware of what the other paddler has to do. And the stern paddler doesn’t have to be reminded to call the “hut” because next time he will be in the bow.
About twenty minutes into the trip, we decided to go up Hennebry Creek. A narrow creek that winds from the RR tracks to the river – actually – in the right conditions, we might paddle into the Waterfall Glenn Forest Preserve (never have found the right conditions though).
Saw some beaver signs, birds, and a deer. Great to be out!
Time to head back home.
As we approached the river, we swung under a branch. Fortunately, we were not going very fast.
I felt it – like a sting on the ear. “Dave, I think I know what a fish feels like when he is caught. I think I have a fishhook in my ear.”
Who knows how long that line and hook were dangling from the branch. I guess I was lucky it had been a long time. The line broke without tearing my ear and without pulling me into the water.
Now, we picked up racing speed – to the truck and to the doctor’s office.
“Nurse,” the doctor whispered, “get the pliers out of the janitor’s closet.”
A couple stitches, a tetanus shot. I was free to go.
I was lucky. It could have been an eye. Beware, especially in the spring. Fishermen don’t really want to snag trees and catch paddlers – but it can happen.
This spring the ACA is coordinating a Paddle Green Earth Day Cleanup weekend watershed cleanup. As an incentive for groups to host a cleanup, the ACA is offering a chance to win a weekend of free instruction in SUP, Canoe, or Kayak from an ACA Instructor Trainer. We are asking ACA State Directors to help us get the word out to the community so that together we can clean up our watersheds and raise awareness about water quality issues.
Who can host an event?
Any ACA member, PAC, of OLG may host a cleanup event and be registered to win a weekend of instruction for the group. Volunteers helping in the cleanup do not have to be ACA members.
Where should cleanups be held?
Cleanups can take place on any waterway, streams, rivers, bay, ocean, estuary, lake….. We encourage paddlers to remove marine debris from areas that are only accessible by boat for a part of the cleanup.
When should these cleanups be scheduled?
Paddle Green Earth Day Cleanups should be scheduled any of the following days: Friday April 22nd through Sunday April 24th, 2016.
What are the incentives for hosting a cleanup?
The ACA will provide two prizes as incentives to participating groups in the Paddle Green Earth Day Cleanup. The first prize will be given to the group that removes the most Marine Debris. The second prize will be drawn at random from the list of groups that report an eligible cleanup. Each incentive will be a weekend (two 6 hour days) of skills training to any group (not more than 10 persons in a training each day). Groups can choose courses from the canoe, coastal kayak, or SUP disciplines. Skills courses must be held in 2016. The ACA will provide the Instructor Trainer for the skills course(s). Course Participants must provide their own boats, gear, and transportation.
How can my group become eligible to win a weekend of skills training?
Groups can become eligible for the incentives by:
Register your cleanup online by visiting the website and submitting a completed registration form. Your cleanup will be posted to the ACA calendar.
Engaging a minimum of 10 volunteers in a waterway marine debris clean up on April 22nd, 23rd, or 24th, 2016.
Each volunteer must pick up at least 1 paddle Green Bag (or the equivalent) of Marine Debris from a waterway and dispose of it properly.
Each group must submit a completed cleanup report form to the ACA using either the online report form, or by submitting a paper report form by April 29th 2016.
Each group’s report must include a picture of the cleanup activities and a brief (250 words +/-) description of your cleanup project to be posted on the ACA webpage, showing your group’s stewardship work. (Due April 29, 2016)
When will groups know if they received the incentive?
Recipients will be selected at random at the ACA office on May 2, and will be notified by email by May 6, 2016.
We look forward to your participation in keeping our waterways clean and healthy!