May 3, 2010

Sometimes the Man is on Your Side

It seems the Vermilion River will be open once again to paddlers.  This is thanks to a deal between the Illinois DNR and a land owner.

The Vermilion River is somewhat unique to our typically flat and corn filled area.  The river offers scenic paddle trips, pretty good fishing and the only "white water" around.

Wildcat Canyon image shamelessly stolen from Stray Casts

Last year, Buzzi Unicern cement company closed the portion of the Vermillion they own.  The move followed some accidents and a tragic drowning in the vicinity of a dam on their property. Details of the new deal can be found here and here.  No mention of when the waters will reopen, but there are some details about safety precautions the state has agreed to implement.

  • The DNR must place large cement blocks in the deep hole below the dam to eliminate the dangerous current that capsizes boats.
  • The DNR must install buoys and signs in the area warning boaters and rafters of potential dangers.
  • The DNR must remove steel reinforcement bar that juts out from concrete at the site and poses a hazard to boaters.
This is good news for everyone and I'm happy to see my license fees going toward something useful.  However I'm afraid it is a long way from resolving issues we have in our state regarding access to fishing/boating destinations such as the Vermillion and Mackinaw Rivers.  It's the typical public access vs. land owner rights argument, and I won't bore you with the details.  In fact, I don't fully understand the details.

I have never fished the Vermilion, but something tells me that will change this year.

1 comment:

  1. While I am happy this stretch of river will be opened, I kinda wish the legislation would have gone through making the Sandy Ford to the Illinois all public water. It bascially is now anyway as people canoe this stretch all the time.



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