The Aurora Amped Up Adventure Race will benefit Aurora Downtown Canoe Chute. The canoe chute is a by-pass of a dam on the Fox River that is located in the heart of the community. It’s original intention was to create a safe passage for paddlers on the Fox River. Unfortunately, the current design lacks certain features now considered vital, and actually hampers the ability for paddlers to safely pass through the by-pass without spilling out of their boat. Local paddlers have been working for many years to get the Canoe Chute re-designed.
Hollywood Casino has taken a leadership role in supporting paddlers efforts to improve recreation on the Fox River, by signing on as the Title Sponsor for the Aurora Amped Up Adventure Race in Aurora. In addition, Scott Shipley, who just completed the design and construction of the London 2012 London Olympic Kayaking facility, has also jumped on board, and has donated new updated concept plans for the Aurora Canoe Chute. Read below for more information about the Aurora Downtown Canoe Chute.
CANOE CHUTE BACKGROUND
Phase One Aurora Downtown Canoe Chute
The Aurora Canoe Chute was one of the first Urban Bypass Channels in the US. Unfortunately, good intentions alone do not make a good Canoe Chute. When the Canoe Chute was first proposed as one of the first elements of the Fox River Water Trail, it drew little interest from city fathers, primarily because the project involved expensive under-water surveying and there was no proposal to pay for it. Then shortly afterwards, Riverboat Gambling was approved for Illinois oldest Industrial cities as a way to revitalize these ‘rust belt’ communities. Hollywood Casino was quick to offer to pay for the underwater surveying as both part of their own waterfront construction project to build a modern Parking Deck and the riverfront Fox Walk, Aurora’s new riverfront pedestrian walkway system. They recognized the validity of the claims that the Canoe Chute would bring recreational users and a valuable new image to Downtown Aurora, so the city scrambled to include the Canoe Chute into the construction timetable of the Hollywood Casino.
But because there was no input from the paddling community, the Aurora Canoe Chute’s original design lacked certain features now considered vital. There were other design features that actually hampered paddler’s efforts to transit through it without spilling out of their boats.
Aurora Downtown Whitewater Park Concept
Local paddlers have been working for many years to get the Canoe Chute re-designed. These efforts have repeatedly been financially supported by Hollywood Casino and include Aurora Downtown Canoe Chute Concept Drawingscreated by noted Whitewater Park designer and former Olympic Kayaker Scott Shipley. Mr. Shipley’s plans are twofold: Phase One is a redesign of the Canoe Chute so that it offers a safe and non technical passage around the dangerous downtown Aurora Dams. This design should be class 1 and should enable even inner tubes and Rafts to use the chute in addition to Canoes and Kayaks. It also includes a larger drop pool # 3, which would be suitable as an instruction venue for small Whitewater Kayaking classes.
Phase Two involves eliminating the fatal design flaws of the two Low Head Dams adjacent to the Canoe Chute. This will be done by modifying the dams to create a Whitewater Park where the fatal ‘keeper’ hydraulic current at the base of each dam is eliminated so even if a person was swept over the dams, they would be ejected downstream into shallow water, rather than stuck in a circulating current that draws them back to the falling water and then down to the river bottom.
Aurora Canoe Chute
While the Canoe Chute is seen as a free and safe passage around the dam, the Whitewater Park could be a fee based attraction which would help pay for its construction. The Aurora plans stem from a county long Water Trail concept first put forth in 1978 by the Kane County Forest Preserve District and County Board, which envisioned a safe bypass channel around each of the dams in Kane County. To date the Aurora Canoe Chute is the only part of that vision that has been built.
Please consider supporting The Aurora Canoe Chute Fund. Your donation will go towards the re-engineering of the Canoe Chute. Fundraising efforts for the canoe chute are initiated by Paddle and Trail, Illinois Paddling Council and Be Active Outdoors. Proceeds from the Aurora Amped Up Adventure Race will benefit the Aurora Canoe Chute re-engineering.