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updated: 6/29/2013 9:48 AM

Canoeing suburban lakes, rivers a sweet summer pastime

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  • Students learn to kayak at Paddling Camp at Independence Grove through the Lake County Forest Preserve.

      Students learn to kayak at Paddling Camp at Independence Grove through the Lake County Forest Preserve.
    Photo by Kim Karpeles

  • Paddling Camp instructor Jan Ward helps a student at Independence Grove through the Lake County Forest Preserve.

      Paddling Camp instructor Jan Ward helps a student at Independence Grove through the Lake County Forest Preserve.
    Photo by Kim Karpeles

  • Paddle Camp instructor April Vaos teaches a kayaking class at Independence Grove in the Lake County Forest Preserve.

      Paddle Camp instructor April Vaos teaches a kayaking class at Independence Grove in the Lake County Forest Preserve.
    Photo by Chip Williams

  • Paddling Camp instructor Jan Ward teaches kayaking at Independence Grove for the Lake County Forest Preserve.

      Paddling Camp instructor Jan Ward teaches kayaking at Independence Grove for the Lake County Forest Preserve.
    Photo by Kim Karpeles

  • Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at Independence Grove through the Lake County Forest Preserve.

      Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at Independence Grove through the Lake County Forest Preserve.
    Photo by Kim Karpeles

  • Adventures in Nature Camp instructor April Vaos teaches kayaking at Independence Grove at the Lake County Forest Preserve.

      Adventures in Nature Camp instructor April Vaos teaches kayaking at Independence Grove at the Lake County Forest Preserve.
    Photo by Chip Williams

 
By Riley Simpson
rsimpson@dailyherald.com

Noted outdoor enthusiast Henry David Thoreau once remarked: "Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing."

Many local residents believe in canoeing as well, taking advantage of the lakes and rivers in the Northwest suburbs.

Ken Michaels, owner of the South Elgin Canoe Shack for 22 years, stresses the simple joys to be found paddling a canoe on a nice summer day.

"Come on out, relax, forget your problems and have a good time," he said.

But remember, paddling on any forest preserve lake requires an Illinois Department of Natural Resources water usage stamp. Pick one up at participating sporting goods stores such as Sports Authority and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Here's where you can rent and launch canoes and kayaks.


Canoe rentals

Cook County Forest Preserve

Rental fee: $15 per hour or $35 for eight hours

Hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Rented canoes or rowboats must be returned by 7:30 p.m.

Information: (708) 361-0460 or www.fpdcc.com

Locations:

• Busse Reservoir, Higgins Road and I-290, Elk Grove Village
For rent: Only canoes. You can also launch your own canoes, kayaks, rowboats and sailboats from the ramps in the Main Lake and South Pool.

• Maple Lake, Wolf Road and 95th Street, Willow Springs
For rent: Rowboats. Only rental boats are allowed in Maple Lake.

• Tampier Lake, 131st Street, west of Wolf Road, Orland Park
For rent: Only canoes. You can also launch your own canoes, kayaks and rowboats from the boat ramp off the main parking lot.

Du Page Forest Preserve

Rental fees: $10 per hour or $50 per day. You can also purchase yearly permits for $35 for DuPage County residents and $45 for out-of-county paddlers.

Information: (630) 933-7248 or dupageforest.com

• Herrick Lake, Butterfield Road, Wheaton
For rent: Canoes, kayaks and rowboats.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekends. The last boat rentals are at 5:30 p.m.

• Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve, Winfield and Butterfield roads in Warrenville
For rent: Canoes, kayaks and rowboats.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays (last boat rental at 5:30 p.m.) and 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekends (last boat rental at 4:30 p.m.)


Lake County Forest Preserve

• Independence Grove, 16400 Buckley Road, Libertyville
For rent: Canoes, kayaks and tandem kayaks. Only rental boats are allowed in Independence Grove.
Rental fees: Canoes are $8 per hour and $4 for each additional hour; kayaks are $10 per hour and $5 for each additional hour; tandem kayaks are $12 per hour and $6 for each additional hour.
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to sunset
Information: Paddling lessons are also offered by Independence Grove. Call (847) 968-3499 or go to www.lcfpd.org for details.

Launch sites

Des Plaines River

Locations:

• Captain Daniel Wright Woods Canoe Launch, Route 60 east of Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville

• Gowe Park, McClure Avenue in Gurnee

• Independence Grove Canoe Launch, 16400 Buckley Road, Libertyville

• Oak Spring Road Canoe Launch, Oak Spring Road west of Saint Mary's Road in Libertyville

• Plank Road Meadow, Ogden and First avenues in Lyons

• Rivershire Park, Londonderry Lane in Lincolnshire

• Sedge Meadow Canoe Launch, East of Route 41 in Wadsworth

• Van Patten Woods Canoe Launch, Russell Road east of Route 41 and west of Green Bay Road (Route 131) in Zion

Cook County Forest Preserve lakes

Information: (800) 870-3666 or www.fpdcc.com

Locations:

• Beck Lake, Central and River Road, Des Plaines

What you can paddle: Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats, electric motorboats.

• Big Bend Lake, East River Road south of Golf Road, Des Plaines

What you can paddle: Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats, electric motorboats.

• Powderhorn Lake, Brainerd Avenue east of Burnham Avenue in Chicago

What you can paddle: Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats, electric motorboats.

• Saganashkee Slough, 107th Street, between Archer Avenue and Willow Springs Road in Palos Hills

What you can paddle: Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, electric motorboats.

DuPage Forest Preserve lakes

Paddling fee: $7 for DuPage County residents, $9 for out-of-county paddlers.

Information: (630) 933-7248 or www.dupageforest.com

Locations:

• Hidden Lake, Route 53 and south of Butterfield Road in Barrington

What you can paddle: Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, inflatables.

• Mallard Lake, Gary Avenue and Schick Road in Hanover Park

What you can paddle: Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, inflatables.

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