Anyone who has boated the inland rivers knows many of the locks are in desperate need of maintenance. A plan by the Army Corp of Engineers (COE) has been put in motion to close seven locks on the Illinois River, essentially closing the waterway from July 1, 2020 through October 29, 2020.
While we support the effort to maintain the waterway for commercial and recreational use, and we support the idea of one closure to maintain this series of locks, the time frame selected is just about the worst-case scenario for those doing the Great Loop in the “traditional” one-year time-frame where you complete the Great Lakes and head down the Illinois River in late summer or early fall. The COE has sandwiched the work between what is typically the spring flood season and the peak of grain harvest season. The work cannot be completed in the winter due to freezing temperatures unless they build structures over the locks and heat them, which they do not have the budget to do. Simply put, there is no other time of the year that this can happen.
AGLCA is continuing to work on options for our members for 2020. There are several possibilities, and we are determining whether and how we can support our members as they:
- Linger in the Great Lakes and start the inland rivers later than "usual"
- Leave the Great Lakes earlier than "usual"
- Extend the season for cruising the Great Lakes and then store the boat winter of 2020, and continuing the Loop in 2021
- Haul the boat near Chicago and ship it to the Upper Mississippi
- Loop clockwise
We realize all of the options have their pros and cons. Not every option is possible for every boat so AGLCA is providing various information platforms for you to access details on all of these options as well as information to help you decide which may be the best for your circumstances.
We'll continue to update this page as more information is available.
In addition to the webinar above, AGLCA is periodically informing members on the latest updates through the weekly podcast. If you missed an update, you can catch up by using the links below to listen to past episodes of the podcast pertinent to the Illinois Waterway closure.
Illinois Waterway Lock Closures for 2019 and 2020
Update on the Illinois Waterway 2020 Closures
The 2020 Illinois Waterway Closure-Completing the IL River Before it Closes
The 2020 Illinois Waterway Closure-Looping Clockwise
The 2020 Illinois Waterway Closure-Storing Your Boat for the Winter
The 2020 Illinois Waterway Closure-Trailering Your Boat
The 2020 Illinois Waterway Closure-Waiting Near Chicago
Cruising the Illinois Waterway
Members can also connect and communicate with other members by subscribing to one or all six specialized forums based on the Looping options being considered for 2020. AGLCA will also communicate updates within each of the specific forums. The six opt-in forums include: Going thru the Illinois River Prior to July, Looping Clockwise, Storing the Boat for Winter, Shipping the Boat, Trailering the Boat and Waiting in Chicago. You can access these forums from the Connect menu after logging onto the website and then selecting the Forum sub-menu where you will find the listing of all AGLCA forums. You may also use this link to access the forum listing page but you must subscribe to any forums of interest to receive the daily digest email of forum activity from the previous day for that specific forum and be able to post within a specific forum. To subscribe to any of these forums, you can do so through your member profile by following the navigation instructions below:
Log onto the www.greatloop.org website with your username and log-in. (If you need credentials to access your profile, you can email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a password reset.)
Go to your member profile
Go to the Forums section
Select Forum Memberships
Go to Available Forums
Click the Join icon which is the green icon to the right of the appropriate forum name to be added to that particular forum. Once you join a new forum, it takes about 45 minutes for your subscription to be activated so the Post button will not show up when you go into that particular forum until your subscription has been completely activated. If you wish to unsubscribe from a particular forum, click the Unsubscribe icon which is the red icon to the right of the forum name that you wish to stop.