DuPage Forest Preserve District officials celebrated the opening of the first permanent ADA-accessible kayak and canoe launch to accommodate people of all abilities at Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

“We’re thrilled to provide a permanent launch that allows individuals of all ages and abilities to launch a kayak without help, making it easier for everyone to enjoy our preserves,” said DuPage Forest Preserve District President Daniel Hebreard.

Installed in winter 2021, the launch features a boat slip and transfer platform with handrails. A path from the parking lot connects to a concrete sidewalk ramp that leads to the launch.

Judy Strassenburg of Wheaton said she’s thrilled with the new boat launch. She loves kayaking but has trouble getting in and out of a kayak.

“The new launch makes it a much more enjoyable experience,” said Strassenburg, 66. “Kayaking is my favorite thing to do right now.”

Visitors are welcome to use the launch with their own watercraft and Forest Preserve District permits, or they can rent canoes or kayaks at Blackwell’s Silver Lake boat launch. Kayak rentals are $15 per hour; canoe and tandem kayak rentals are $18 per hour. Rental hours are 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. weekends through Sept. 25 and on Memorial Day and Labor Day, and 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. weekdays May 31 – Sept. 2. Rentals end at 5:30 p.m.

The Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County provided $15,000 in private donations toward the $75,650 project.

Forest Preserve District officials on hand at the opening of the new ADA-accessible kayak and canoe launch at Blackwell Forest Preserve. Pictured

are (from left) Karie Friling, executive director; Karen Gray, landscape architect supervisor; Commissioner Al Murphy (District 6); Commissioner Linda Painter (District 3); Commissioner Jeff Gahris (District 4); Commissioner Marsha Murphy (District 1); Board President Daniel Hebreard; Commissioner Tina Tyson-Dunne (District 2); kayaker Judy Strassenburg; and Diane Addante, president of the Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.


The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 6.2 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok pages.

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Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce
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