Ralph Frese, 1926 - 2012

Ralph Frese, 1926 – 2012

In 2007, the Forest Preserve District passed a resolution dedicating the North Branch of the Chicago River from Willow Road to Dempster Street as “The Ralph Frese River Trail.” Frese, a dedicated paddler and founder of the Chicagoland Canoe Base, championed the conservation and restoration of the County’s waterways. He shared his love of the river with thousands  of residents, founding numerous organized paddling events including the annual New Year’s Day Paddle.

 

Mr. Frese passed away on December 10, 2012 at the age of 86. Click here to share your memories, or read the full text of the Resolution below.

 

 

RESOLUTION #07-R-01-10-04

Sponsored by

THE HONORABLE LARRY SUFFREDIN, FOREST PRESERVE DISTRICT

COMMISIONERS

 

Co-sponsored by

THE HONORABLE JOHN P. DALEY AND GOSLIN, FOREST PRESERVE DISTRICT

COMMISIONERS

 

Creating the Ralph Frese River Trail

WHEREAS, the Forest Preserve District recognizes the contributions of citizens in promoting and protecting the natural habitat of Cook County; and

 

WHEREAS, no one in Cook County has been a greater champion for the conservation and restoration of the County’s waterway environment than Ralph Frese; and

 

WHEREAS, as the founder of the Chicagoland Canoe Base, Ralph Frese is dedicated to increasing interest in paddling and appreciation on northeastern Illinois’ water trails; and

 

WHEREAS, Ralph Frese’s lifelong love for paddling has led to the establishment of numerous organized paddling events; and

 

WHEREAS, nearly 50 years ago, while involved in Boy scouting, Ralph Frese, a fourth generation blacksmith, shared his addiction to paddling with many scouts by creating a build-your-own canoe kit; and

 

WHEREAS, building on the interest in his canoe kit among Scouts, in 1957, Ralph

Frese started the annual Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon, a 25 mile canoe race that begins at Oak Spring Road and finishes at Dam #2 in the Cook county Forest Preserve

District in Mt. Prospect; and

 

WHEREAS, the incredible interest in the Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon from throughout the community led to the creation of the Mid America Canoe Run on the

Fox River and the protection of nearly 80% of the Des Plaines River in Lake County by the Lake County Forest Preserve District; and

 

WHEREAS, in 1984, Ralph Frese began to take people out on New Year’s Day for a paddle in the North Branch of the Chicago River in the Cook county Forest Preserve

District as a way to peacefully begin their new year; and

 

WHEREAS, 22 years later, the Annual New Year’s Day Paddle attracts hundreds of paddlers to the North Branch of the Chicago River between Willow Road and Dempster

Street, beginning at the Skokie Lagoon and running through Watersmeet Woods, Blue

Star Memorial Woods, Glenview Woods, Harms Woods, Chick Evans Golf Course and

Linne Woods; and

 

WHEREAS, for three years, the Forest Preserve District has sponsored the Annual

New Year’s Day Paddle; and

 

WHEREAS, Ralph Frese has signed his own family of canoes known as the

Canadienne and gives illustrated lectures on the role of the canoe in Illinois history, on the water trails of the Midwest and the state of the environment on these waterways; and

 

WHEREAS, Ralph Frese has received recognition and numerous awards from national, state and local organizations and was recently honored by the American Canoe

Association with its first national award, Legends of Paddling; and

 

WHEREAS, Chicago Public Television WTTW recently recognized Ralph Frese’s contributions to preserving out water trails; and

 

WHEREAS, Ralph Frese has dedicated himself to working with the Forest Preserve

District to clear its waterways of debris and trash so that others may safely enjoy themselves; and

 

WHEREAS, the residents of Cook County owe Ralph Frese a debt of gratitude for his commitment to increasing awareness and love for Cook County’s waterways and his successful and dedicated public service and leadership;

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Commissioners of the

Forest Preserve District of Cook County does hereby name the North Branch of the

Chicago River from Willow Road to Dempster Street the Ralph Frese River Trail; and

 

BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Commissioners of the Forest Preserve

District of Cook County does hereby congratulate Ralph Frese on his lifetime of accomplishment and wishes him happiness, good health, and success in his future endeavors; and

 

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of this resolution be tendered to

Ralph Frese as a symbol of this auspicious occasion and let it also be spread upon the official proceedings of this Honorable Body.

 

Approved and adopted this 10th day of January, 2007.

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