One of the most well-known waterways in the Lower Great Lakes Region, the Kankakee River has helped link French Canada and Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River since the 1600s. During the 1800s, the Kankakee River and its surrounding marshers turned into a sportsman’s paradise that attracted Presidents, industrialists, and royalty from around the world. However, much of the original river system was eventually channelized and dredged to improve the quality of the surrounding agricultural fields. Despite the changes, over 130-miles of the river still exists with provides Indiana, Michigan and Illinois residents a paddling resource rich with American history and abounding with natural beauty. Known by many as the “Everglades of the North”, paddlers have continued to drive efforts to protect and share this wonderful resource for generations to come. Aside from its natural beauty, the Kankakee River Basin makes up one of Indiana’s largest water drainage systems, serving over 13 counties – almost 3000 sq. miles, across land used mainly for cropland, pastures, or protected forests.