Canoe Guides Help People Experience the Wonders of the Water

The 2022 canoe season starts on Chicago River Day, May 14.

Canoeing is a great way for people to connect to the Chicago and Calumet rivers. Seeing turtles, great blue herons, and other wildlife from a canoe helps people gain a better understanding and a deeper respect for the habitat and animals that call the river system home. Our amazing volunteer canoe guides and boat haulers make our fun, educational, and impactful canoe program possible.

Download a Canoe Guide Application

“Volunteer canoe guides play pivotal roles in helping people experience the river in safe, fun, and educational ways,” said Friends’ Volunteer and Events Coordinator Annette Anderson, who manages the canoe program. “Guides and boat haulers also increase their own connection to the river and share great camaraderie with their fellow guides.”

Chicago River Day, May 14

The 2022 canoe season starts on Chicago River Day, May 14, and runs through October with an average of 40 trips throughout the watershed. Some of those trips are educational field trips for schools, some are litter cleanups from the water, and others immediately improve the health of the river by planting native aquatic plants which reduce erosion and filter the water. Bringing canoes to events is also critical for the program’s success and one of our biggest challenges, so if anyone who has a hitch can help us haul canoes it would be greatly appreciated.

Let us know your interest in guiding or hauling by downloading our canoe guide application and returning it to Annette Anderson, at