Northwest Indiana Paddling Association

R.S.V.P. For the Oct 26 Kankakee River Sandhill Crane Paddle

Sorry, registration has been closed due to overwhelming response.

October 26th 2014

Once named, the hekiki, Huakiki, Aukiki, as well as the Sauwauseebe by Native Americans and early explorers, the Kankakee River has historically served as a trading route, food source and water trail. On Sunday, October 26, 2014 it will serve as a source of recreation and inspiration for paddlers and nature lovers of all ages. Join Northwest Indiana Paddlers, family, and friends for this annual fall event to learn more about one of Northwest Indiana’s most awe inspiring, historic, and studied features, the Grand Kankakee River.

The Kankakee River “Sandhill Crane” Paddle has become an annual tradition attracting hundreds of participants since starting in 2010.  Last year, around 120 paddlers enjoyed a picture perfect day on the water before gathering at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area to witness one of nature’s greatest spectacles, the gathering of ten thousand or more Sandhill Cranes at dusk.

A relaxing 8.6 mile paddle down the Kankakee River will be followed by a trip to Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area where we'll witness one of America's greatest wildlife spectacles: tens of thousands of sandhill cranes visiting the shallow marshes on their annual migration.


Due to overwhelming response, we must close the registration to the 2014 Kankakee River Sandhill Crane Paddle. The parking capacity for the event locations has reached it maximum. We truly appreciate the desire of so many to join us in this fantastic event.
For more information please contact Dan Plath at dplath@nwipa.org or (219) 871-9559

Date and time

Sunday October 26th, 2014

10:00 am (CST) to Dusk

R.S.V.P. Here…


10:00 am (cst) - Registration begins.

Paddlers with own equipment: Meet at Yellow River Public Access Site at English Lake, Indiana to drop off your boat and register, then proceed to Dunn's Bridge to park and catch the shuttle.

Renters: Contact Ryan Chew at (312)823-3384 or ryanwc@sbcglobal.net

11:00 Shuttles begin from Dunn's Bridge back to the English Lake launch site

12:30 Last shuttle leaves Dunn's Bridge

12:30–2:00 (cst) Launch boats from English Lake

2:30–4:30 (cst) Land at Dunn's Bridge

3:00–5:00 (cst) Riverside picnic at Dunn's Bridge

5:00 (cst) Depart for Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area

6:00 (cst) Sunset

Trip Route

Start: English Lake (Yellow River Public Access Site) boat ramp located at south of the bridge at County Road S 650 W in English Lake, Indiana

Map of the English Lake launch site

Finish: Dunn's Bridge Public Access Site at S 500 E near Wheatfield, IN. The Dunn's Bridge Boat Ramps are owned by the Porter Co. Parks Dept.

Map of the Dunn's Bridge site

Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area
5822 Fish and Wildlife Ln
Medaryville, IN 47957-8152
(219) 843-4841     

Map of Jasper-Pulaski F&W site


Please bring water and snacks for your paddle and plan to join us riverside at the take out for mezza provided by the Pickle and Turnip Restaurant, compliments of Christopher B. Burke Engineering


Chicago River Canoe and Kayak will provide rental canoes and kayaks for those who reserve them ahead of time. The number of rental canoes & kayaks are limited so it is good idea to reserve them well in advance.
Please reserve your boat at: http://chicagoriverpaddle.com/guided-trip-reservation


Paddlers with their own equipment should drop off equipment at the the English lake launch site at 10:30 before proceeding to Dunn's Bridge to park. Bus shuttles will leave Dunn's Bridge for the return trip to English Lake starting at 11:00. Last shuttle departs at 12:30.

Participant Requirements

Paddlers should be prepared for and capable of paddling 8.6 miles, down river. The pace of the paddle will be around 4 mph.


Equipment & Other Considerations

The trip is appropriate for canoes or kayaks. River depths are extremely shallow this year, so please be aware. Wearing of personal floatation devices is mandatory for all participants throughout the event. Although cell coverage is spotty, a cell phone or VHF radio is suggested for emergency use. Bring plenty of water. Hats, sunblock, and a change of clothes in a dry bag are a good idea. Cold water paddling gear may be appropriate. Absolutely no alcohol is allowed during the event. Don't forget your binoculars and a camera!

Paddle like an original explorer in a 24 foot wooden Voyager Canoe. If you missed the opportunity earlier this summer, you have one more chance to paddle in a 24 foot wooden voyager canoe. Wilderness Inquiry is bringing their boats to the English Lake launch to join the Kankakee River Sandhill Crane Paddle.

If you wish to paddle like an original explorer, R.S.V.P to Wilderness Inquiry here..…
and look for the red Register Now! Button.

Free T-Shirts for the first 120 paddlers to register, courtesy of the producers of the documentary Everglades of the North.

Reserve Your Space

Please rsvp **here** by 10/25 so we can make sure there's room for you on the shuttle. Due to parking constraints at Dunn's Bridge, participation is limited to 120 paddlers.


For more information contact:

Gayle MacBride at




Dan Plath at


(219) 871-9559       

Partners & Organizers

Christopher B. Burke Engineering, the LaPorte Co. Commissioners, LaPorte Co. Tourism, Everglades of the North, LaPorte County Parks and Recreation, Porter County Parks and Recreation, Coulter Produce, Friends of the Kankakee, Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, the Kankakee River Basin Commission, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, NICHES Land Trust, LaPorte County Surveyer, NIPSCO, Chicago River Canoe & Kayak

For partnership, volunteer opportunity, & trip sponsorship opportunities, please contact Dan Plath at dplath@nwipa.org or 219-871-9559

© 2014 Northwest Indiana Paddling Association

Event Update: 10-24-2014

We just wanted to send out what we hope will be some helpful maps and directions for Sunday's Sandhill Crane Paddle to supplement what was sent earlier and is posted on the NWIPA website. It sounds like we have a perfect forecast for Sunday and lots of enthusiastic paddlers taking part.

Registration is set to begin at 10:00 am CST.  

Shuttle bus schedule from Dunn's Bridge to launch site at Yellow River Access site:  

- First shuttle leaves Dunn's Bridge at 11:00 am CST

- Last shuttle leaves Dunn's Bridge at 12:30 pm CST.  

Plan to arrive at Dunn's Bridge to leave your vehicle no later than 12:15 pm CST.  If you miss the last shuttle, you will have to shuttle yourself back to the launch site.

For those who have your own canoe or kayak, please first go to the Yellow River Public Access Site in English Lake, IN to drop off your boats.  The easiest way to get to the Yellow River Public Access Site is from US 421 south of LaCrosse. Turn east onto County Road 400 S.  Drive ~3.5 miles until you reach CR 650 W. Turn left (north) and drive ~1.85 miles until you see the Yellow River Public Access Site sign on your left. Turn here to get to the starting point. There are NWIPA directional signs on the corner of 421, CR 650, and the public access site.

Once you have unloaded, you should drive to the Dunn's Bridge County Park to leave your vehicle behind and catch the bus back to the start. We have attached a map of the route.

For those who are using a NWIPA loaner canoes or kayaks such as for volunteers, NEAT members, or silent auction winners, we would recommend to go straight to Dunn's Bridge finish location and catch the shuttle bus back to the start where you will find your boat ready to go.

There are two good ways to get to Dunn's Bridge.

(1) From SR 49 either north or south (depending on where you are coming from.) Turn East onto State Road 8 in Kouts. Take 8 for 3 miles. Turn south on 500E. You will go 6.72 miles south until you run into Dunn's Bridge County Park.

(2) From 421, take SR 10 west 4 miles. Turn north (right) onto 400 E. Drive ~2.3 miles until you cross the Kankakee River. The parking area will be on your left.   Also, just so you know, 400 E. changes names when you cross from Jasper Co. to Porter Co. at the river. It is named 500 E. in Porter Co., but is the same road.

In other words: It is 500 E on the north side of the river, and 400 E on the south side of the river.

Overflow parking:  Please park in the parking area at Dunn's bridge just north of the river.  Once that area is filled, you will be directed to park in the overflow parking south of the river on CR1425 on the south side of the road. At that site, park in the grass along the corn field.  There should be NWIPA volunteers there to assist. This is private land and the landowner is gracious enough to let us use it for parking.  Please be respectful of his land and generosity, and leave no trace that you were there.

For those renting from Chicago River Canoe and Kayak, please follow the instructions sent from them.

Anyone who is taking a voyageur canoe, please use the instructions sent from Wilderness Inquiry earlier today.

Below is a link to a map for those driving from the Yellow River Public Access Site to Dunn's Bridge and from Dunn's to Jasper-Pulaski FWA to see the Sandhill Cranes at the end of the day.


We are looking forward to a great day on the water Sunday. Please email me at dkplath@gmail.com if you have any further questions.

October 26th 2014
Kankakee River Sandhill Crane Paddle