Chesterton Tribune



NWI Paddlers laud Kankakee River designation as National Water Trail

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The U.S. Department of Interior’s designation last week of the Kankakee River Water Trail as a National Water Trail--as the Chesterton Tribune reported on Monday--is the culmination of the collaborative work of scores of stakeholders in two states over eight years, according to the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association (NWIPA)

“This bi-state effort to designate the Kankakee River a NWT (National Water Trail) has been a great undertaking which has brought together around 100 stakeholders from across Illinois and Indiana including strong support from our municipalities, industry, agriculture, business, tourism, educators, elected officials, fellow paddling groups, historic societies, economic development, conservation organizations, and all levels of government,” NWIPA said on Friday. “What we have accomplished together is nothing short of spectacular.”

“From the time when we first turned in the application more than a year ago, we have been told that NPS was overwhelmed by the strong support for the National Water Trail,” NWIPA added. “This entire effort is a great example of what is possible if we all work together collaboratively. We cannot express our deepest gratitude enough for all of your help making this dream a reality.”

The 133-mile Kankakee River Water Trail is one of only 21 NWTs in the country and the first in Indiana. A NWT designation is likely to “increase community-based recreational opportunities, help marketing, improve public access safety, boost tourism, spur economic growth, assist with public health improvements, and provide a venue for environmental education,” NWIPA noted. “We believe the NWT designation will help us attract more resources to improve public access, increase safety, and continue to provide a vital resource that our communities can be proud of.”

At the same time, nothing will change so far as property owners and river users are concerned. “Designation as a National Water Trail will not impose any new regulations on the waterway, does not interfere in any way with a landowner's rights or use of property, and does not interfere with local management of the waterway. There are no intentions to impose any new rules or regulations anywhere on the Kankakee River,” NWIPA said.

A comprehensive Water Trail GIS-based Story Map website is available at to help paddlers safely explore the river.


Posted 6/7/2016




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