Friends of the Chicago River, a non-profit group that wants to maintain the city's river as a clean, accessible resource for all is sponsoring their 9th annual canoe and kayak race, The Chicago Flatwater Classic, open to all on Sunday October 5 at 10AM.
The 7.5 mile race, for standard canoes and kayaks, begins at Clark Park, 3400 N. Rockwell and ends at Ping Tom Memorial Park, 300 W. 19th in Chinatown.
Organizers expect participants, volunteers and spectators will number over 1,000 this year. Anyone can participate but fees vary, depending on whether or not you're a member of the group. Rentals are available through a number of local outfitters. Check out www.chicagoriver.org for details.
You can also organize your own trip or event, large or small, independent of the race. There are guided tours or you can go it alone. Your reward is a relatively rare look at the natural wonders of the river landscape as well as an industrial section with its own beauty and, of course spectacular views of the city's skyline.
Check out the many activities available through this group which is dedicated to an ecological approach for this special treasure. Wildlife abounds along the river and there's even a Fish Hotel where visitors can view a variety of fish via tours beginning at the Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum at 12:30 PM, Thursday through Monday. It's at the intersection of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue.