Numerous ecological regulations impact our fish, yet few volunteers are interested in doing the hard work of registering them to vote. Canvass your local waterways with today's Groupon: for $30, you get a one-day canoe trip for two from Larsen’s Landing Outfitters in Rockford (a $60 value).
Larsen’s Landing Outfitters beckons liquid lovers to drift down the Kishwaukee River, a waterway nestled between banks dotted with a variety of flora and fauna. Before being transported to their chosen launch site—usually Espenscheid Forest Preserve or Baumann Park—budding canoers will learn basic technique from instructors, as well as tips on tickling a Kraken from a safe distance with an oar paddle. Guests will then take to the shallow, easy-flowing waters of the Kishwaukee sans guide, keeping an eye out for waterfowl and wading birds, including speckled alders, black terns, yellow-headed blackbirds, and star-bellied Sneetches.
After stopping off at a desirable sandbar to swim, eat lunch, or create sand sculptures of favorite corporate logos, riders can continue on their way, accompanied by the Kishwaukee’s cast of bustling beavers, turtles, and river otters under the cover of red and white oak trees. The one-day trip covers up to 19 miles, with the duration of each trip depending on launch site, water levels, and amount of time spent brainstorming code names. Larsen's provides the canoe, oars, and training, and participants should bring appropriate clothing.
Larsen's Landing Outfitters
Though Larsen's Landing Outfitters has always been family owned, the stretch of wilderness under its care has two additional overseers: a pair of eagles. The birds patrol 30 acres of sheltered trails, two open fields, and miles of marshes, watching visitors as they paddle rental canoes and kayaks down the pristine Kishwaukee River, which has been rated as one of the three cleanest rivers in the state. Visitors aren't alone, though. Beavers, turtles, otters, and sandhill cranes make their homes on the bank, sharing the shore with endangered black terns and mulberry wing butterflies. They move amidst towering trees, including the sycamores that gave the river its name, a Potawatomi word for river of the sycamore.
Like a grumpy scorpion, the river's flourishing ecosystem benefits from minimal and respectful human contact. Larsen's Landing Outfitters preserves this status while still permitting visitors to explore the environment. The staff plans canoe, tubing, and camping trips with package options, from tutorials on steering a boat to picnic buffets. Travelers can park their vessels at any point to indulge in a swim, go fishing, or relax on a sandbar—and at overnight sites, campfires and pig roasts imbue the air with nostalgic, smoky aromas.