The Active River Project – Bringing Recreation to the Fox River Corridor

recreational additions to fox river st charles

The River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles is beginning a new phase aimed to increase recreation possibilities on the Fox River and to make the River Corridor a destination hub.  Over the past months, the Foundation has been evaluating various projects and recreational additions other cities across the country have implemented to make their rivers a recreational and economic center.

One successful example is the addition of a white water rapids course for kayaking in Charles City, Iowa which cost $1.7 million but provided a return of $1 million in its first year.  Other positive outcomes of the rapids course is that the water quality of the river has improved immensely and also, according to fishermen, has the fishing.

 

In the spring of 2014 the River Corridor Foundation created a committee, which includes members from the City of St. Charles and St. Charles Park District, to develop the Active River Project.  The first step for the Active River Project Committee is to raise the funds needed to hire consultants to study what types of features would work on the Fox River and how much they would cost.  Possibilities being studied for the project  include a white water rapids course for kayaking, floating gardens, elevated bicycle trails, and water parks similar to the crown fountain at Millennium Park in Chicago.


Video done by Rick Brems, River Corridor Foundation Board Member & David Phyfer, Stage Fright Productions


Related Information & Updates

 

21 thoughts on “Active River – Bringing Recreation to Fox River

  • July 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm
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    This would be a great addition to the community. May I be of any assistance?

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    • July 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm
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      Keith,
      Thanks. We are also very excited about this phase. If you send your contact information to me by email at info@stcrivercorridor.org and I’ll put you in touch with the members who are heading this up.

      Reply
  • July 30, 2014 at 12:40 pm
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    Are you seeking input from area ww kayakers? We would love to help this process. A state-of-the-art ww park would garner great interest from the northern Illinois area.

    Anything we can do to help, we are willing.

    Mike and Lori

    Reply
    • August 8, 2014 at 11:40 pm
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      Thanks, we would love input but we are still a little early in the process. I have forwarded your contact information to the committee heading up the active river project. If you use Facebook you can ‘like’ our page to stay up to date. If you don’t, please sign up for the newsletter.

      Reply
  • October 20, 2014 at 6:28 pm
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    The St Charles Canoe Club has been actively paddling on the Fox River in St Charles for 25 years. Members come from not only St Charles but other communities bringing people to St Charles that would not usually come to the community.

    The club holds two races a year bringing people from out of state as well as Illinois paddlers.

    From the video, it looks like canoeing/kayaking has been overlooked. It might be a good idea to include the St Charles Canoe Club in some phases of the planning.

    Reply
    • November 11, 2014 at 3:07 pm
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      Thank you for your input.

      The Active River Task Force enthusiastically supports all recreational activities on the Fox River, including canoeing. It was very difficult to edit the video you reference down to five minutes and our failure to expressly utilize a segment on canoeing was unintentional.

      The Task Force is currently compiling a list of all stakeholders in river related activities so that they can be included in planned community focus group sessions. The tentative schedule for these focus groups is the spring of 2015. Please provide us with contact information of anyone interested in being part of the process and we’ll make sure they are invited. You have been placed on the list.

      Reply
  • May 10, 2015 at 7:25 pm
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    I cannot attend the 5/20/15 Feedback event… A whitewater park would be a good thing! Also include access points (launches) both above and below the WW features, and a designated portage, so people who aren’t skilled in whitewater can get around it safely…

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  • May 12, 2015 at 2:50 pm
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    I am greatly in favor of recreation that utilizes the river, and the positive effects it would have on our town’s economy. My question is about the dam – is our town keeping the dam, or considering free-flowing the river?

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  • May 18, 2015 at 1:49 pm
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    I think I speak for all whitewater kayakers/canoeists not only in chicago, but in the entire midwest, in saying that this is an extremely exciting opportunity! I can’t wait to see this project get started and to have a new play spot nearby!

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    • April 27, 2016 at 10:42 am
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      I’m just starting to get into kayaking and I’m thrilled about this idea. I really wish it could happen soon. My family and I will be at this river park often when it’s complete.

      Reply
  • May 18, 2015 at 7:44 pm
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    I am very interested in the whitewater rapids part of this plan. I would like to see a variety of big waves to surf!

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  • May 20, 2015 at 1:28 pm
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    This is a very exciting proposal – one that I am in favor of. Would there be any consideration to the sport of Stand Up Paddleboarding? This is an activity/sport that is gaining huge popularity. This would be a great location to rent SUP’s, teach SUP classes, etc.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2015 at 4:04 pm
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    Yes I agree a whitewater park would be welcome in the Midwest! Im stoked, I want to be able to say surfs’ up in St Charles!

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  • May 23, 2015 at 7:29 pm
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    Interesting interview and article from Daily Herald today – posted to Facebook,

    Reply
  • July 7, 2015 at 12:21 pm
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    I’m a resident on Brownstone Drive on the west bank of the river in St. Charles. We’re in a relatively new development of town houses and want to have some assurance that our residential area will not have an adverse environmental impact due to increased traffic, parking, and visitors created by the active river project. Please consider this residential use in planning the project. Perhaps controlled gated access to our residential streets would help mitigate this impact.

    Reply
  • July 11, 2015 at 11:26 am
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    I attended the Active River Project Open House on July 7, and the speaker noted that the population of St. Charles is getting older, and that walking was one of the most popular recreational activities. Why not work to connect us up to communities north and south and create a Great Fox Vally Walkway, continuing the Bob Leonard River Walkway. There could be pocket parks along the way, pop up food trucks, and sculpture. Not sure I want to see a water amusement park in downtown St. Charles. Walking, canoeing, and kayaking are quiet ways to use the river, so everyone can enjoy its beauty.

    Reply
  • July 15, 2015 at 11:20 am
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    I am 58 years old, and in that time I have never not been here on the river. I’ve seen the river change over the years, much for the better, and unfortuately very much for the worse.

    All of this talk of recreational opportunity is fine, but I think that some thought should first be given to address the problem of inconsiderate, reckless, unsafe, unlawful, and rude boaters and PWC operators that are now “running” this stretch of river.

    You propose to bring a new recreational opportunity to the corridor, but as it is we can’t even get the river policed from a safety aspect now, and you want to introduce potentially dozens of kayakers and canoers of varying ability and competence into the mix every weekend or day?

    Believe me, I spend as much time on the bank or on the water as anybody who uses that pool, and i have seen things going on with speed boaters, PWC operators and even pontoon boats that would scare the daylights out of anyone who knows anything about safe and resposible boating. Not just once in awhile, just about every day.

    Drinking, high speed games of “chicken”, weaving in and out of anchored boats and groups of canoers, tearing up shorelines, etc. with their watercraft or attempting to intimidate anyone who has the guts to openly complain to them.

    I myself have been in four separate incidents over the years while fishing from an anchored boat where I was intentioally” run” as the butt of a joke or as an attempt at intimidate, and suffered damage to fishing equipment and even minor injury in a couple of cases.

    Believe me, its only a matter of time before a serious injury or death occurs on that stretch of river… I’m stating this only as a concerned, troubled resident and frequent boater who has seen far too much of this behavior for too long.

    And that’s not too mention the amount of shoreline erosion and other damage to property caused by this reckless, careless, element.

    Please consider all of these other aspects and make an attempt to provide safety and security, at least on the weekends before you begin this process. The elelment of lawlessness will eventually lead to a tragic accident or violent incident. Get a commitment from the police or ILDNR that regular patrols will be avalable to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

    Safety and security are the foundation of success for a shared access such as the Fox. If this is not taken seriously, then there will eventually only be regret overnot having taken this advice.

    As a lifelong resident, and guy who has grown uo on the river, I would welcome any questions or comments based on my experience.

    As many of you are, I am invested in seeing the river thrive as a recreational resource, but not before some of these serious issues are addressed.

    Reply
  • August 24, 2015 at 9:39 pm
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    What/where are the details about the August 25 Final Project presentation?

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  • October 27, 2015 at 7:08 pm
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    As a resident of Carroll Tower, A senior Housing Apartment building of over 100 units adjacent to the Fox River, I have not seen a public notice of this project. WHERE can I read and review the document. Last I knew, the river is too shallow to eliminate the Dam. Is that not why the canoe race was shortened from Elgin to Aurora to only Geneva to Aurora?

    Reply

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