Rock Falls volunteers to clear Hennepin Canal

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Rock Falls residents plan to volunteer their time Saturday, September 19, 2015 to clear the waterways along the Hennepin Canal, and they're asking for additional help.

Dave Druen, owner of Dave's Outdoor World, and Kurt Schwab sat on a bench along the Hennepin Canal Friday, laying out their game plan. Their mission involves removing trees that block the waterway and clearing the river banks.

"Our main goal is to get this (trees) out of the way so it can remain open for boat traffic, kayakers and getting canal cruising through  the area," said Druen.

Druen is working with the Friends of the Hennepin Canal in hopes of clearing local waterways and starting a "renascence of river cruising."

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is responsible for the area's up-keep; however, Druen explained how the state's ongoing financial obstacles has resulted in less state workers to clean the area. He said years ago about 13 state workers were responsible for the area, adding that number has now dropped to three people caring for a 104-mile stretch of park.

Druen explained how the city of Rock Falls has submitted a request to the state of Illinois to annex the park so they can care for it, but have not received an answer from the state.

Volunteers should meet at the Ardini Boat Launch at 8 a.m. Saturday, September 19, 2015.