Bison and Butterflies day trip

A century ago, the two most visible creatures in the prairie state may well have been American bison, 2,000 lbs and 6 ft tall at their hump, and regal fritillary butterflies, weighing in at a fraction of an ounce, with a wingspan of 4 inches.  Bison were too big to be missed.  Fritillaries were common, and brilliantly colored, prairie butterflies clad in dazzling orange and black.  Bison came near extinction, and fritillary were nearly wiped out east of the Mississippi River  

The Kankakee Sands preserve in NW Indiana is one of the only places where both can still be found.  Bison were reintroduced there in 2016, and a fragile remnant population of regal fritillaries has exploded in recent years as the Nature Conservancy has restored a landscape of grassland flowers.

  • Join us to paddle a sinuous backwater channel of the Kankakee River, lined by blossoming buttonbush and the long, white-blossomed lances of lizard's tail plants.
  • Then head to the Kankakee Sands, where we'll see the prairie in bloom and watch for bison and butterflies.  Nature being unpredictable, we need some luck to spy our target species.
  • Note that the bison and fritillary butterflies aren't found along the river these days, so we're looking for them after the paddle.
  • Additional details will be provided in a reply email when you sign up.
  • Yes, you can still say buffalo.  Though scientists prefer bison. 
Timeline:
  • Meet at 1:00 pm 
  • 5 miles of paddling (1.5 hours)
  • 1 hour of wildlife viewing
  • Some time will be spent in transit from the river to the bison/butterfly preserve;
  • The launch is roughly 65 miles from downtown Chicago (we provide directions and meet you there), so expect that you're spending much of the day.
Cost: 

Saturday trip - $95/canoe or tandem kayak (2 people); $65/person in single kayak;

Friday trip - $10 off per boat.

A child riding as a 3rd person in a canoe would be an additional $10.  Please let us know in a note as part of your reservation.

Recreational kayaks are wide, flat and slower, but more stable. Most of our singles are touring kayaks.
the best phone number to reach you the afternoon of the trip in case we have to talk about the weather forecast.