October 27, 2022 — Cook County Board and Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall were joined today by local elected officials for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate a new canoe and kayak launch at Schuth’s Grove in central Cook County.
The site is the latest of nine Forest Preserves locations where a paddler can put in a canoe or kayak along the Des Plaines River, and includes accessible features such as accessible parking, a paved path to the landing, and a stable and firm surface all the way to the water’s edge.
“At the Forest Preserves, we have made a commitment to increasing and improving accessible amenities like this canoe launch. The nearly 70,000 acres of Forest Preserves in Cook County is an amazing resource that belongs to all of us. Everyone should be able to enjoy its benefits of being outside and in the natural world,” said President Preckwinkle.
“Getting out on the river and paddling through the preserves is a fun and unique way to experience nature in our highly developed county. This new launch is open for visitors every day of the year, and it will be a spot for our programming team to lead kayaking events on the Des Plaines for the public,” General Superintendent Randall said.
The new launch fills in a 5-mile gap between the Plank Road Meadow launch at Ogden and the Maywood Grove launch at Lake Street.
“This is a great example of what can happen when we work together to expand outdoor opportunities in Illinois communities,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Colleen Callahan. “Because of IDNR’s Boat Access Area grant program, paddlers on the Des Plaines River will have an additional convenient location to launch and land their canoes and kayaks.”
The Forest Preserves’ Conservation and Experiential Programming Department will also use the new launch for paddling events and the Greater Maywood Padding Program. This free, award-winning program provides leaders of organized groups with training on kayaking, use and care of kayaking gear and how to lead a kayaking trip. Once certified, trained leaders can use the Forest Preserves’ free Kayak Gear Library, which has all the supplies needed for an organized group paddling trip.
In addition to the launch site, a new environmentally friendly parking lot was constructed at Schuth’s Grove with funding from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. Using porous pavers, the new lot helps with stormwater management and ensures water entering the river is cleaner.
“Thank you to our partners at the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Cook County Board for their commitment to investing in green infrastructure at Schuth’s Grove,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “We value your commitment to stormwater management at a time when we are growing accustomed to more and more 100-year rain events and flooding concerns. Your collaboration and actions speak volumes on our mission to build resilience throughout Cook County.”
The new launch is funded in part by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Boat Access Area Development program, while the parking lot improvements were funded in part by MWRD’s Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program.
Also speaking at the celebration was Cook County Commissioner Frank Aguilar.
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.