September 22, 2017

Touch of Nature to host paddling event Oct. 7

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- What better way is there to appreciate a fall day in Southern Illinois than by paddling on a scenic lake?

Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is sponsoring Breaking the Surface, a free community paddling event, from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7.

People of all ages and experience levels are welcome to come to the center, located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road, for paddling and other activities. Touch of Nature will provide everything you need, including canoes, kayaks, personal flotation devices and paddles. As an added treat, Illinois Department of Natural Resources personnel will offer rides in the agency’s Voyageur canoe. The boat can seat up to 20 people.

Participants are encouraged to wear water shoes or other footwear they don’t mind getting wet and to bring snacks and water bottles. You may also bring your own watercraft but must have a Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge sticker or day pass, available for purchase at the event, for each boat before it is placed in the water.

Check-in for Breaking the Surface begins at 1 p.m. Paddling instructions for novice canoers and kayakers will be provided at 2 p.m. Open paddling takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. Participants can also enjoy interpretative hikes throughout the afternoon.

Breaking the Surface is free and open to the public. No pre-registration is required. Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase during the event.

For more information, call 618/453-1121 or email Additional details about all of Touch of Nature’s numerous programs, facilities and services can be found at