Bubbly Creek on the eastern border of the McKinley Park neighborhood flows north toward the Chicago River and the boathouse of Park No. 571.

Patrol Bubbly Creek as a Volunteer Canoe Guide

Published April 3, 2019

The Friends of the Chicago River is reaching out to local paddlers who have an interest in helping promote our local waterways, including Bubbly Creek on the McKinley Park neighborhood's eastern border. Two upcoming training dates lead to certification as a Volunteer Canoe Guide who can lead expeditions from the Chicago Park District boathouse at the headwaters of Bubbly Creek and the Chicago River, and from other locations.

"After you paddle, you can't help but become a friend of the river," said Volunteer Associate Annette Anderson, who works with Friends of the Chicago River. "That's why the guide program is so essential: They are there to coach new paddlers, share their passion for the river and offer an added layer of safety."

Maxwell Street Market - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. first and third Sundays

Maxwell Street Market - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. first and third Sundays

The program requires prospective guides to go through two mandatory training sessions: The first is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at the Forest Preserve of Cook County's Volunteer Resource Center at 6100 N. Central Ave., Chicago. The second runs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the Skokie Lagoons Tower Road Boat Launch, off Tower Road at 1760 W. Tower Road, Winnetka, Illinois.

Additional requirements for volunteer guides include paddling experience, swimming ability and basic physical fitness. Each volunteer will be responsible for attending three or more paddling trips between April and October.

The application for becoming a guide is available online by clicking here. Applications can be mailed in, sent via FAX or emailed to aanderson@chicagoriver.org

"We take out quite a few school groups on Bubbly Creek," said Anderson. "We talk about the stockyards, the lumber yards, the improvements made and the current efforts to keep improving it.

"We see great blue herons, painted turtles and lots of other wildlife," she said.

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Maxwell Street Market - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. first and third Sundays