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Dec 31, 2012



Please note: The 2013 Happy Canoe Year Paddle down the North Branch of the Chicago River has been cancelled due to safety concerns stemming from the extreme cold in the forecast. Please join us for the event in 2014.


Ring in the New Year with a Paddle Trip down the North Branch of the Chicago River


Happy Canoe Year! On January 1, 2013, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County will host the annual New Year’s Day Canoe Paddle down the North Branch of the Chicago River. Experienced paddlers are invited to participate in this free tradition, which begins below the Skokie Lagoons and finishes approximately 4 miles later in Linne Woods


The New Year’s Day Canoe Paddle is presented by the Forest Preserve District in conjunction with the Illinois Paddling Association and supported by Prairie State Canoeists. The event has been an annual New Year’s Day tradition since its founding 27 years ago by Ralph Frese. Last year, more than 300 paddlers participated.


Participants must bring their own boats and personal floatation devices and dress in clothing that retains warmth if wet. All participants will be checked for proper clothing and equipment before launching.


Paddling any river in cold weather is inherently dangerous. This event is best suited to experienced paddlers and/or people with experience in cold-weather sports.


For more information, visit


Where:            The trip begins at Willow Road, east of the Edens at Forestway Drive.  Access to the boat launch is just below the Willow Road Dam. The trip ends at the Linne Woods Canoe Access a few hundred yards downstream from the horse bridge in Linne Woods. Linne Woods is located on Dempster Street at Ferris Ave., east of Lehigh Ave.


When:             January 1, 2013; boats launch between 9am – 11am

Participants should plan to drop their gear at the Willow Road Dam, and then drive their cars to the Linne Woods finish point. Shuttle busses will provide transportation between the two locations from 8am – 2pm.


Paddlers should allow 45 – 60 minutes for the bus shuttle and two – three hours for the paddle itself.


Other:             Paddlers must wear a Personal Flotation Device and clothing that retains warmth when wet (layering of wool or fleece and synthetic undergarments works best.) Participants are encouraged to bring non-alcoholic beverages, a complete change of warm clothes in a waterproof container, a cell phone waterproofed in a zip-lock freezer bag, and a hearty sense of humor.

Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County