On Saturday, July 9, the Jacob Leinenkugel’s Brewing Company headed south to Illinois for the Friendly Float down the Chicago River. An armada of 75 canoes was lead by Jake and John Leinenkugel on an absolutely beautiful day in Chicago.
Unfortunately, the Chicago River does not reflect the beauty of the city that bears its name. Some of the scenery along the river is quite nice, but if one of the factors of beauty is water quality, which it must for a river, then the Chicago River horribly fails.
In January of this year, the Green Bay Packers came down to Chicago and showed the Bears and the city what a Super Bowl winning team looks like. Just like our northern neighbor came down and educated us on the winning ways of football the same can be said about teaching and raising awareness to the deplorable conditions on the Chicago River.
Leinenkugel’s is located in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and they are used to clean water. They have done much work in Wisconsin to keep their rivers clean. Their initiative in the clean water arena is called canoes for a cause. They care about the condition of the Chicago River also as this city was one of their first major markets outside of Wisconsin.
Talking with Jake and John Leinenkugel after the paddle it was obvious they were shaken, concerned, and disgusted with the condition of the river. Jake addressed the audience afterwards and stated he was getting on a plane to a place where there is clean water.
The condition of the river would be understandable if there was no hope for it; however, on stretches where trees lined the shore three types of herons were spotted, ducks and geese including a hooded merganser swam, and turtles basked in the sun along the shores. Recently a river otter was seen eating a dead fish as reported by a representative from the Friend’s of the Chicago River.
It is not as if nobody is doing anything to help the Chicago River here in Illinois as the Friend’s have been doing what they can to safeguard the river for years, but they need help. Recent comments by the president of the Water Reclamation Districts that cleaning the river would be a waste of time received much negative press. It is good news that public opinion seems to favor restoring the river, but it will take more work to turn this feeling of good will into action.
The purpose of the Friendly Float was to raise awareness for the need to clean up the river. The idea is a great one because you really do not understand the condition of a river unless you get on a canoe and paddle it. Many take tour boats and fly up and down the river on motors, but from this vantage point the condition of the river is not a focus.
Those that sailed on the Friendly Float including this author need to spread the word on the condition of the river. It has improved dramatically over the years, but much more needs to be done. Let’s hope in Chicago we learn from our northern neighbors on the football field and on the field of clean water.
Subscribe to my articles with the button on this page. joltleft.com does not share or sell your email address and there is no spam. Other e-follow options include Twitter, my Facebook fan page, and/or my new blog Travelingted.tv.