The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has approved the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce’s Cruise the Canal tours at Lock 24 for its 2020 season.
Cruise the Canal events are guided tours in which guests get to drive their own two-person golf cart with one passenger while experiencing the natural beauty of the canal.
Led by Bob Thompson of the Geneseo Campground, guests get to hear exclusive stories about the canal — including its construction, history and ecosystem.
Due to tours selling out last year, and the popularity of the canal during the pandemic as a natural source of safe outdoor recreation, the Geneseo Chamber says more tours have been added to this year’s itinerary.
“The Hennepin Canal State Parkway north of Geneseo has never been more popular than it has been in 2020 with the pandemic limiting travel and people looking for something to do closer to home,” says Geneseo Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Zack Sullivan. “Our 2019 tours were very popular, and we are happy to expand our tour offerings in 2020 to accommodate more tourists in a safe manner.”
This year’s Cruise the Canal events are scheduled for the following dates:
- Saturday, August 8
- Friday, September 11
- Friday, October 16 (fall foliage tour)
Tours are offered three times per day, with tour times at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The cost to participate is $20 per person.
The Geneseo Chamber says they work with assisted living facilities to provide rides for seniors with no cost for the caregiver to drive.
According to the Geneseo Chamber, these were the only events on the Hennepin Canal to be approved by the IDNR in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Geneseo Chamber says a major component of obtaining approval for the events from the IDNR amid the pandemic was detailing how many people are on each tour, and whether the event maintains a safe environment for guests.
This year, the Geneseo Chamber says carts will be cleaned and sanitized between tours. They recommend guests eat before arriving, as food will not be offered.
Each tour can only have a maximum of 34 people this year, including volunteers — what the Geneseo Chamber says is “well below the 50-person threshold outlined in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois reopening plan.”
Guests will also be encouraged to use face masks.
Cart sponsorships are available for those interested in getting a message or brand in front of visitors of Geneseo, as well as residents looking for something to do in their own backyard.
The Geneseo Chamber says a cart sponsorship also helps them continue to provide high-quality event programming like the Cruise the Canal events going on in the community.
Sponsorships are available according to the following sponsorship schedule:
- 1 tour date: $55 per cart
- 2 tour dates: $95 per cart
- 3 tour dates: $135 a cart
For more information, and to reserve a spot on one of the tours, call the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce at 309-944-2686.