Now that the Kankakee River is a designated Water Trail, the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association is looking to continue to offer educational opportunities and to further brand the Kankakee River as a National Water Trail. Dan Plath is the Chief of Resource Management for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the former President of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association. He says the National Water Trail designation could offer great benefits to the Region.
Plath says it has taken about eight years to get the Kankakee River National Water Trail where it is today. Through the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Committee (NIRPC) the Northwest Indiana Greenways and Blueways plan was created.
The Kankakee River Basin Commission then teamed up with local land owners along the river, on the Indiana side, to clear log jams on the river and develop public access and signage. The NWIPA developed an overnight camping spot, marketed the river and offered educational programs, all things that led up to the river's water trail designation through the National Park Service.
NWIPA hosts a couple of big events every year, the Kankakee River Sandhill Crane Paddle on October 15th and the Everglades of the North Paddle, which is being held in August.