Join Us for a Canoe and Clean Event

Volunteers filled bags of trash at a Canoe and Clean event last year at River Park in Chicago. Photo by Michael Courier.

Friends of the Chicago River invites you to join us for our popular Litter Free Chicago River Canoe and Cleans beginning August 22 with a volunteer cleanup event on the Little Calumet River. The Litter Free Chicago River effort began three years ago with a focus on the North Shore Channel, extended through the South Branch last year, and this year has expanded into the Calumet region. 

Six Canoe and Cleans are scheduled through the fall at locations along the river, north and south, including: 

  • Aug. 22: 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. Little Calumet Boat Launch
  • Aug. 29: 2:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. REI Lincoln Park
  • Sept.12: 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. Beaubien Woods Flatfoot Lake
  • Oct. 10: 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.  Dammrich Rowing Center
  • Oct. 17: 2:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. Park 571- Eleanor St. Boathouse
  • Oct. 24: 2:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. River Park Boathouse

"Canoe cleanups are a fun way to connect with the river, experience its wildlife and remove garbage trapped along its banks," said Annette Anderson, volunteer and events coordinator at Friends. "Safety is paramount so we took the time to study the guidance from the state and City of Chicago's reopening plans, learn how other groups were adjusting their events, and listened to our skilled volunteer canoe guides to determine how to best implement new protocols." 

Friends staff developed and tested COVID safety protocols which include smaller groups using staggered start times, participation per boat as opposed to by seat, and pre-registration. Social distancing and face coverings are required while on the docks.  

No experience is necessary to participate in a canoe cleanup and all equipment is provided. Space is limited and reservations are required. To register for a Canoe and Clean event, and to read about COVID safety protocols, visit Registration is $40 per boat. 

Thank you to the Mars Wrigley Foundation for their generous support of the Canoe and Cleans program.