Canoe race shortened due to bridge work in Geneva

The course of the annual Mid-American Canoe Race has been shortened because of construction on a railroad bridge in Geneva.

Fox Valley Park District officials didn’t realize that damming had been placed near the bridge at the southern end of Island Park in Geneva. The Union Pacific railroad is adding a third track to its line.

People posted concerns on social media about the condition of the river there. The district noticed and visited the site. They talked to construction workers, who said they have not seen a canoeist or kayaker pass through during their work hours, said Lynn Piotrowski, the race coordinator, in a news release from the park district.

“It’s an extremely dangerous area with high, fast-moving water and narrow passageways,” Piotrowski said.

Instead of starting at Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles, the long course of the June 1 race will begin at Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva and run 7.1 miles.

There is also a 6-mile course, starting at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Batavia.

The races finish just south of the Illinois Avenue bridge in Aurora.

Registration is due at 9 a.m. May 29. To register or for more information about the race, visit

The race began in 1961. It used to be 22 miles, starting in Elgin. It has been canceled three times for high water, once for low water and once due to bridge construction.

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