The Lincoln Heritage Water Trail Association Joins Collaborative Organization

From Mahomet to Decatur to Petersburg, Sangamon River groups and organizations share a common vision for the Lincoln Heritage Water Trail. Check out the organizations and upcoming events here.

Lincoln Heritage Water Trail Association’s Abe’s River Race 2018 Volunteer Information

Please help us celebrate the Illinois Bicentennial.

Abe’s River Race 2018 will be held on the Sangamon River July 14, rain date July 15. The race starts at Irwin Road and ends at Petersburg’s Riverside Park, a distance of approximately 15.5 miles. For the first time, the race will be included in the Illinois Paddling Council’s race point series, and will also coincide with the Illinois Bicentennial, which could greatly increase our participant numbers. In the past, we’ve followed the previous year’s template regarding start times, shuttle departure times, and volunteer deployment. Alterations to this year’s itinerary may be needed to accommodate increased participation. The race will be supported by the Sangamon Valley Radio Club, Menard County Sherriff’s Department, and Menard County Rescue, enabling us to implement a solid safety plan. Imminent or prolonged lightning, or high water, will be cause for race postponement. 

All participants will be required to wear properly fitted lifejackets while on the water, or face disqualification from this and future races. Volunteers are highly encouraged to help enforce this policy by reporting bib numbers of those who refuse to comply. Most of the racecourse is sparsely populated and rural. Houses with phone service may be few. Volunteers and participants needing to report an emergency on land or water should phone 911. If no cell service is available, the nearest radio operator or emergency personnel can relay information. Radio operators will be located at a number of sites along the river. The main points of egress from the river before the finish line will be at Gudgel Bridge and Lincoln’s New Salem. Any non-emergency situations, including information on participants needing to egress from the river before the finish line, should be reported to a radio operator or to the Race Director at 217.494.3957

In past years, we’ve been graciously supported by a number of area groups and it’s our hope to have their involvement again in the future. Some volunteer positions on land and water need to be filled before race day. We are actively seeking involvement from groups throughout the state, giving us a good chance of filling any gaps.

Thank you for your time and energy! 
Scott Hewitt
Race Director

the Lincoln Heritage Water Trail 

The Water Trail follows the Sangamon River as it flows past the Lincoln Homestead State Park, just west of Decatur, Illinois to Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, just 1.5 miles south of Petersburg, Illinois - the town that Lincoln surveyed.  In 1965 then Governor Otto Kerner signed legislation creating the trail and we will soon celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark event.

The Water Trail provides the public with an unique opportunity to not simply see the places Lincoln lived, but to experience, through doing, some of the places, vistas and adventures that are now much as they were 150 years ago, when Lincoln made the trek.  From remnants of bison trails, river crossings, old mill sites and abandoned buildings long forgotten, you can relive history.

Today, Lincoln's Sangamon River is essentially undeveloped and is a fantastic natural resource for canoeists, kayakers and photographers.  Watch the eagles soar, observe wildlife in their native habitat and enjoy the peaceful float that transports you through time.  History awaits your discovery!

Abe's Race Slideshow

Menard County Tourism

In addition to the Sangamon River and nearby Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Park, there are many sites to visit. And don't forget Lincoln's New Salem and other Lincoln sites.  Click on the link above to learn more from the Menard County Tourism Council.

In The News

Part of the Lincoln Legacy

Discover the Beauty

and enjoy nature when you explore the Sangamon River, made famous by Abraham Lincoln when he stopped and made New Salem his home.  Check out our Facebook page for current events.

Water Trail

More About the River

Lincoln traveled the Sangamon by flatboat until landing at New Salem where history and his legacy began.