Afton man wants paddlers to know about canoe landing

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Anna Marie Lux
Saturday, May 20, 2017

AFTON--Ken Willing wants to spread the word about a canoe landing in Afton that provides access to Bass Creek.

“No one knows about it,” he said. “We want to publicize it so people can use it.”

A number of groups worked together to make the landing possible.

The Rock Trail Coalition cleared small trees to allow access to the creek. Later, members cleared brush from the creek to allow canoes and kayaks to pass.

Willing, of the former Bass Creek Dam Association, said the association bought the land about five years ago and gave it to the Green Rock Audubon Society about two years ago.

The association dissolved once it donated the land, Willing said.

He called the creek “an excellent little drift” for flat-bottom boats, canoes and kayaks.

Last weekend, Rich Bostwick and members of a paddling club known as Advanced Blackhawk Boaters used the landing, which borders County D and First Street.

“We found Bass Creek to be a lovely trip through varied terrain,” Bostwick said.

His group prefers rapids, but the creek provided changing shoreline scenery and a variety of wildlife.

The group paddled from the creek into the Rock River and took out at Happy Hollow Park, about a 90-minute trip.

“Next time, we will go another couple of miles down to Preservation Park in Beloit,” Bostwick said.

He called the landing “a great addition to the paddling opportunities in the area.”

“The only other way to access the river in Afton would be at the Highway D bridge,” Bostwick said.

But the bridge embankments are steep, and the highway is busy, he added.

The next put-in option would be upstream on Johnson Road.

“That would make for a tremendously long trip just to get to Afton, let alone the Rock River,” Bostwick said. “So the new landing makes sense in terms of safety and logistics.”

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