Forest Preserve announces summer paddling program lineup
ign up for a Forest Preserve paddling program today! The District offers programs for all experience levels at lake and river sites throughout Will County. Paddling is a fun way to get some exercise and experience nature. (Phot by Forest Preserve staff | Cindy Cain)

Summer is around the corner, the weather is improving and the Forest Preserve District is offering a boatload of kayaking programs this year for newbies and advanced paddlers alike.

The programs fill up fast, so register online on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org for the kayaking program that suits your interests. (See the lineup below.)

People love kayaking because it takes place outdoors, it provides great exercise and it’s a great way to connect with nature, said Angie Trobaugh, facility supervisor at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. And joining a Forest Preserve program is a good way for people to try kayaking in a controlled environment on either a lake or a river. “Sometimes people are intimidated and a bit frightened by the water and the possibility of going in,” Trobaugh said. “But they feel reassured by going out with experienced certified instructors.”

The Forest Preserve provides everything needed for people to try out kayaking including paddles, boats and personal flotation devices. Only one program requires participants to bring their own boats. Everyone should take an instructional course, or a Kayak Kollege, to get started in the sport, Trobaugh said.

“There are so many basic things people tend to overlook when they go out on the water that could easily be addressed if they were just made aware,” she explained. “Paddling is as safe as you make it.”

Here are the kayaking programs planned for the next three months. Additional details and registration information are available on the online Event Calendar.

Whalon Lake, Naperville:
Kayak Kollege, 4-6 p.m. Saturday, June 18
Paddle and Campfire, 7-9 p.m. Saturday, June 18
Kayak Kollege, 4-6 p.m. Friday, July 8
Paddle and Pinot, 7-9 p.m. Friday, July 8
Shooting Star Perseids Paddle, 7-9 p.m. Aug. 12
Summer Send-off Paddle, 6-9 p.m. Aug. 27

McKinley Woods – Kerry Sheridan Grove, Channahon:
Kayak Kollege, 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, June 18
Kayak Kollege, 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, July 2
Birding by Boat, 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6
Sunset Paddle, 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10
Kayak Kollege, 10 a.m.-noon Aug. 27

Monee ReservoirMonee Township:
Kayak Kollege, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Saturday, June 25
Kayak Kollege, 3-5 p.m. Saturday, July 16
Kayak Kollege, 3-5 p.m. Aug. 13
Sunset Paddle, 7-10 p.m. Aug. 13

Rock Run Rookery Preserve, Joliet:
Evening Paddle – Bring Your Own Boat, 6-8 p.m. Friday, July 22

For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Will County, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.