Fun Float appeals to all ages
June 6, 2012 3:44PM
The Trail Creek Fun Float begins at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, June 10. The event is open to beginning and experienced paddlers.
For more information on the Trail Creek Fun Float or the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association, go to www.NWIPA.org. The site also has information on other NWIPA activities and events.
Those without a boat can rent a canoe or kayak for the event for $35 through Chicago River Canoe and Kayak. For reservations, call (312) 823-3384.
Updated: July 8, 2012 6:48PM
An effort to clean up a local waterway five years ago led to the formation of both an organization and an annual event. The event has become the Trail Creek Fun Float and it launches at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, June 10.
“All are invited to attend, and you don’t have to be an experienced paddler,” said Dan Plath, founder of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association. “Last year we had about 100 paddlers, including families and even first-time paddlers.”
Five years ago Plath was involved with a consortium of city and conservancy groups that developed a plan to clean up and improve the water quality of Trail Creek. That Lake Michigan tributary was then impassable due to log jams, and was clogged and littered with debris.
Plath said because of that, the creek hadn’t been paddled for a long, long time.
Sixty-eight volunteers came out to help with a cleanup effort. From that, a group formed that organized more events and came to form the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association, which organizes paddling and stewardship events throughout the year, including Sunday’s Trail Creek Fun Float.
“There’s an interesting variety of sights along Trail Creek,” Plath said. “It starts out in an urban corridor. You go through the Washington Park Marina, past 50-, 60- or 100-foot-plus yachts, then wind your way past the Naval Armory and an old tall ship turn-around area from the era of tall ship commerce in Michigan City. Then, after the Trail Creek Marina, it goes from a highly urbanized area to what seems like a wilderness. The creek winds, there’s a sand bottom, and depending on the time of year, you might see salmon.
“Our hope is to go as far as International Friendship Gardens, if the water level permits. Paddlers can get out and stretch there, and sometimes the garden has offered us a hike there. That’s the point where a lot of folks turn around and head back.”
That route is about a six-mile round trip, starting from Michigan City’s Washington Park boat launch. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The first 100 registrants will receive a commemorative T-shirt courtesy of the Northern Indiana Public Service Co. This is a free event and participants can park for free, but a $5 donation to the NWIPA is appreciated.
Following the float, participants are invited to a reception at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts. Refreshments will be provided. Current Lubeznik exhibits include book and paper art, and studio glass.