St. Patrick’s Day: Kayaking on the Chicago River

By Mary Fairchild

Chicago River

My daughter and I had a bird’s-eye view as we were herded over the bridges along with some 350,000 others who came out for the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities including the dyeing of the Chicago River this past Saturday.  The paddle tour was organized by Paddle & Trail, Geneva Kayak, and CASKA (Chicago Area Sea Kayakers Assoc.).

Chicago River

Geneva Kayak instructor Mark Anderson  (pictured above, photobucket link) was the architectural docent who led the paddle.  Chicago’sarchitectural heritage is one of the finest in the world.  Not only does the river provide a unique setting for viewing Chicago’s architecture, but, on this day in particular, the vivid green dye creates a whole new intensity to the scene.

Chicago River

This year’s paddle was a balmy 80 degrees when we are usually expecting our last bout of snow in the city.

Chicago River

One magnificent seven-mile paddle.

* The dye dissapates in about 3 hours–the original plumber’s fluorescent dye was replaced with an eco-safe vegetable dye:


  1. Boat Registration (why non-motorized boats?)
  2. Boat Registration in Illinois: Chicago Style
  3. Deep Politics in Chicago (Roti Family, Marilyn Monroe, Tony Rezco)
  4. Redeveloping Chicago (Millennium Reserve, Rainbow Beach, Eco-Imperialism)
  5. Chicago Kayakers (environmentalism)
  6. Chicago River Kayaking (safety, pollution)
  7. Forest Service and Public/Private Partnerships:  Selling us Access to our own Investments
  8. Kayaking Chicago’s Shores: Look at Me What I do is Fun

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