On October 29th, representatives from Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, Illinois American Water, the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, and several other organizations came together to celebrate the completion of the Illinois River Canoe & Kayak Trail with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The project provided 12 scenic stations for paddlers to use as launch points and rest-stops, featuring flood-resistant benches and commemorative signs with attached eyelets for tethering small watercraft. The project was funded by a grant provided by the American Water Charitable Foundation Building Better Communities initiative.
During the ceremony, leaders from each organization spoke about the impact that the project will have on the Illinois river for generations to come. Brian Fox Ellis, who came up with the idea for the project through his work the the GPEDC Water Resource Team’s Tourism and Recreation committee, spoke about the history of the Illinois River and about the historical context of the canoe itself. Wildlife Prairie park brought their turkey, Missouri, or “Mo,” to represent the various wildlife that can be found along the Illinois River.