Cook County paddlers can now begin or end canoe and kayak excursions from a new informal paddling launch site, installed along the Des Plaines River in the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Maywood Grove. The launch site was selected with community input and support from the Village of Maywood.
“This location is significant because it fills an extensive gap between the Irving Park and Lyons launch sites for paddlers, a distance of 11 miles,” explains Arnold Randall, General Superintendent for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. “Now, residents from Maywood and area visitors can enjoy easier access to exciting water-based recreational opportunities along the Des Plaines River.”
In addition to the new launch site, the Forest Preserves of Cook County is kicking off a new community paddling initiative, the Greater Maywood Paddling Program and Kayak Gear Library, which provides opportunities for organized groups within the Maywood community to connect to nature and water through kayaking experiences.
The new launch and paddling program are supported by Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) and in alignment with the aim of its Healthy Hotspot initiative to increase the number of places that make healthy living easier in and around suburban Cook County.
“The places we live, work and play matter to our health,” says Dr. Terry Mason, CCDPH Chief Operating Officer. “The Forest Preserves of Cook County is a place that is helping residents live healthier lives by expanding opportunities to connect with nature and be physically active.”
A paddling program and launch also aligns with the Forest Preserves’ Gateway Master Plan, which identifies over 30 sites as gateways designed to help orient and introduce people to the Forest Preserves and encourage them to take advantage of healthy outdoor activities.
Through a grant from CBS EcoMedia, the Forest Preserves is working with several community partners to develop and launch the paddling program in 2018. The program will be focused at Thatcher Glen Pond at Trailside Museum of Natural History and along the Des Plaines River at the Maywood Grove paddling launch.
Group leaders of participating community partners will be trained on kayaking, use and care of kayaking gear and how to lead groups on kayaking trips. Once certified, trained leaders will have access to the use of the Kayak Gear Library which will have all the supplies needed for an organized group paddling trip. The Forest Preserves will also offer public paddling events for the community in addition to the group leader training.
About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.