Canoe the Eel River event scheduled for June 15

Staff Writer

SOUTH WHITLEY ­—The history of the Eel River is as long and winding as the river itself. Chief Little Turtle and the Miami tribe used it as transportation and for trapping and fishing. There are still the remnants of old mills along the river's banks and even an old corduroy road still visible in the river bed south of Collamer. The South Whitley town council and the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation are partnering to give people a chance to experience the Eel River and see the beauty it holds.
The town of South Whitley and EDC are partnering again this year with Upper Maumee Canoe and Kayak to hold the Canoe The Eel event. This year the day on the river is scheduled for Saturday, June 15 beginning at 10 a.m.
The Upper Maumee team will bring canoes and kayaks from their home in Antwerp, Ohio to South Whitley. The first group will be transported from the pavilion at the park in South Whitley to the Washington Road bridge along the Eel. Boaters will then travel down the river to the boat ramp at the park in South Whitley were they will get out of the water.
"A lot of people don't own their own boats," said Lana Beregszazi of the Upper Maumee company. "This gives people the opportunity to check out the Eel River."
Upper Maumee will transport three groups to the drop-off point. One group will go in the river at 10 and the second at noon. The first two drops are for people who rent a canoe or kayak from Upper Maumee. The third group will be for people who bring their own canoe or kayak and want to take part in the event with everyone else.
Beregszazi said the trip should take boaters about three hours to complete. Last year the group brought eight canoes which can hold two people and 12 kayaks. There were about 40 people all together who took part in the journey down the river.
"We want people from all the area to come and have a cool experience," said Beregszazi. "That's the whole reason we started this."
There is a Facebook page for the event called Canoe The Eel for people who would like more information. The price to rent a kayak is $25 and it is $30 for a canoe. People who bring their own boats will be asked to pay $10 for the transportation fee. Beregszazi strongly encourages people to call to book a spot ahead of time as the event fills up quickly. The phone number for Upper Maumee is 260-438-0213.