36th river clean-up Saturday
Extremely low water might be good and bad for the 36th annual Kankakee and Iroquois River Clean Up on Saturday — low water exposing some river debris that higher water might leave hidden, but making navigation more difficult and delivery of boatloads of trash more difficult.
Look for participants wading and pulling canoes and other boats as they work.
“I just hope they can get their boats out,” Northern Illinois Anglers Association cleanup chair Brenda Nowak said Tuesday. Some “walk across” areas of the river might be difficult for boats to navigate, and landing sites, such as the boat launch in Aroma Park, might be difficult to reach, she noted.
The cleanup will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Low water prospects aren’t preventing cleanup regulars from renting canoes for the event, according to NIAA treasurer Jim Reed, of Reed Canoe Trips. As usual, Olivet Nazarene University students have again rented 20 canoes as they have done in recent years, and the long-serving Illiana Cadet Council scouting group has again rented 20.
ONU students usually work upstream from Aroma Park and the Illiana Cadets work the Kankakee River State Park area, where “they usually have to wade,” he said.
Hundreds of volunteers have participated each of the last 35 years and have collected an estimated total of 1,530 tons of trash from the river — everything from beer bottles to home appliances and vehicle tires. Hundreds will be participating again Saturday, despite river conditions. Low water won’t be entirely negative. It likely will leave more debris visible to be collected along the banks.
Volunteers can register at seven sites — Momence Island Park, Shamrock Golf Course, Aroma Park Boat Launch, Beckman Park Boat Launch, Bird Park Boat Launch, Bradley-Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club and the Kankakee River State Park concession stand building near the suspension bridge.
Collected trash will be brought to those sites by volunteers who work from boats and canoes and will be brought in by volunteers who wade and walk other areas along the river sites.
Volunteers will receive free commemorative patches. Food and beverages will be served at all registration sites except Shamrock, where only beverages will be available. Nowak noted that “Bird Park will be having food this year because they had such a good turnout there last year.”
For more information, call chairperson Nowak at 815-953-6134 or Reed’s Canoe Trips at 815-932-2563.
The cleanup has two new sponsors this year in Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers of Kankakee and Modern Woodmen of America.
Returning sponsors are United Disposal, Aqua Illinois, radio stations WVLK, WIVR, WFAV and WYUR, The Daily Journal, Reed’s Canoe trips, George & Nancy Witthoft, Republic Services of Momence, Kankakee River Rats, and Blain’s Farm & Fleet.