Sierran Masthead

High Water Cancels Ride the River

by Mat DeLillo,
Ride the River 2001 Chairperson

On May 18, the day scheduled for the chapter’s Ride the River 2001, I jumped out of bed and went down to the put-in location to check the water level. Thunderstorms the night before had dumped a considerable amount of rain over the White River watershed. The water level was perfect at 6 a.m. Two hours later it had risen six inches.

The word from Schwartz’s Bait and Tackle in Noblesville confirmed our fears that the worst was yet to come. The White River would continue to rise to dangerous levels and would not crest until Sunday.

Member Miles and Congresswoman Carson
Congresswoman Julia Carson and club volunteer Sandy Miles

Taking into consideration first the safety of the participants, we canceled Ride the River 2001. Ride the River volunteers mobilized to implement the contingency plan, which was a flood party at Broad Ripple Park in Indianapolis. Participants were called and the arrangements were made.

The attendees had a good time as they ate lunch, learned about water quality issues, and waited anxiously for the kayak raffle drawing, which was won by Eric and Cara Stallsmith.

The high water did not stop friend of the environment, Rep. Julia Carson (D-10), from stopping by to say hello. Although we never went down the river, Ride the River 2001 was a huge success on a number of different levels. It demonstrated that the Hoosier Chapter has the capacity to pull off a major event that took considerable planning. The attention we received in the planning process took us one step further in making Ride the River a Sierra Club signature event in Indiana.

The chapter thanks our sponsors: White River Environmental Partners; City of Indianapolis, Department of Public Works; Old Towne Canoe; and

We also thank the following partners: Friends of the White River; Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation; Mapleton-Fall Creek Neighborhood Association; Indiana Heritage Trust; Marion County Health Department; Earth Day Indiana; United States Geological Society; Hoosier Riverwatch; Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Planning for Ride the River 2002 has begun. Please contact me to get involved at (317) 251-4793 or

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[9/16/02]efp

Summer 2001