September 16, 2015

Touch of Nature to host ‘Breaking the Surface’

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill.  -- Whether you are a veteran paddling enthusiast, someone who has always wanted to try some form of paddling across the water, or you simply enjoy a day with Mother Nature, an Oct. 3 event at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is the place you will want to be. 

“Breaking the Surface,” a biannual community paddling event, will take place at Touch of Nature, located about eight miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road. There is no cost to participate and everyone is welcome. 

Participants can check in beginning at 1 p.m. At 2 p.m. there will be paddling instructions available for beginners and open paddling will begin then as well. Touch of Nature will furnish everything you need: canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, personal floatation devices and paddles. 

Participants should wear water shoes or other footwear they don’t mind getting wet and bring snacks and water bottles. You may also bring your own watercraft but be aware that it must have a Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge sticker or day pass, available for purchase at the event if you don’t already have one. 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will have its Voyageur canoe at the event. The 34-foot long canoe, seating up to 20 people, is a replica of those used by French explorers and traders as they traveled the country’s interior waterways in the 18th and early 19th centuries. 

There also will be interpretive hikes on the Rocky Ledges Trail, music, interpretive sessions and more. Refreshments will be available for cash purchase beginning at 5 p.m. and everything wraps up at 6:30 p.m. 

There’s no need to pre-register. Visit, call 618/453-1121 or email for additional information.