How we started 

Marycrest International University
1607 W 12 St
Davenport, IA 52804

St. Ambrose University
518 W Locust
Davenport, IA 52804

Palmer College of Chiropractic
1000 Brady St
Davenport, IA 52803

Augustana College
639 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

H & R Block
1715 W Locust St
Davenport, IA 52804

E & J
200 24 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

American Institute of Commerce
1801 E Kimberly Rd
Davenport, IA 52807

Rock Island County Farm Bureau
1601 52 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Hempel Pipe and Supply
951 S Rolff St
Davenport, IA 52802

McGladrey & Pullen, LLP
Certified Public Accountants and Consultants
220 North Main St Suite 900
Davenport, Ia 52801

McGladrey & Pullen, LLP
Certified Public Accountants and Consultants
600 35 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

1607 John Deere Rd
East Moline, IL 61244

John Deere Pavilion
1400 River Dr
Moline, IL 61265

Friends of the Canal keep interest flowing

Through its history, the Hennepin Canal has been kept alive by its "friends" who refused to abandon it.

Now, a new organization, "Friends of the Canal," hopes to continue work to promote and push for more improvements for the recreational facility.

Craig Weber of Geneseo serves as president of the non-profit group, which formed in October. Mr. Weber and his wife, Shari, know first-hand the beauty and boundless amount of pleasure found along the 96-mile parkway.

The couple owns Geneseo Campground, on the north side of the canal just outside of Geneseo on Illinois 82.

"The group is looking toward the future of the canal," Mr. Weber said. "We have members all up and down the canal and the feeder. I was really surprised to see people from all up and down the canal at our first meeting," Mr. Weber said.

The members' interests are as diverse as the recreational opportunities the canal offers, Mr. Weber said. "Some are interested in biking, some in horseback-riding, some in hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, canoeing, virtually all types of recreation."

Members share a common goal, he said. "We want to protect and promote the canal."

Clean-up days are planned and some efforts are under way to push for a long-promised state-funded bicycle trail that's been on the drawing boards for years, he said.

"The engineering plans for surfacing the bike trail are done. All we need is to get the funding and the trail can be completed," Mr. Weber said.

Although there is a stretch of surfaced bike trail along the feeder canal, running south from Rock Falls, the remaining grass trails are more suited for mountain biking.

Mr. Weber believes a completely surfaced, uninterupted trail -- which would be part of the national "American Discovery Trial" -- would draw tourism to the area, generating a new source of income for the cities and towns that dot the countryside up and down the waterway.

The trail would be part of the proposed 400-mile Grand Illinois Trail, part of which already is finished.

The bike trail also could serve as a bicycle commuter route, both in the rural areas and at the western end from Geneseo to Milan, where the canal flows into the Mississippi River, Mr. Weber said.

The main canal and the feeder canal have become such a fixture to the generations of people who were reared in the area, that many overlook its significance and economic importance.

"We're just getting into this, but we're really excited about what the group can do."

Hennepin Canal Parkway site Superintendent Steve Moser, based at the Hennepin's visitors' center near Sheffield, said the new organization will provide a much-needed umbrella group for the many others which have supported canal projects.

"Volunteers are very important to us, whether it's one person who goes out and picks up trash along the canal, or whether it's a large group," he said.

For those interested in joining the new group, Mr. Weber said organizers have targeted five membership classes, individual, corporate or business, municipal, not-for-profit groups and families.

For information, call Mr. Weber at (309) 944-6465.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.