High water alters plans for Friends of Rivers’ boat debut Christening of the replica canal boat has been delayed until June 6.

The weather and local rivers haven’t been too friendly lately to Friends of the Rivers, the Fort Wayne nonprofit organization that raised money to buy an 1840s-era, replica canal boat to offer river cruises from downtown Fort Wayne.

Recent heavy rains and flooding have forced the Friends group to delay until 5 p.m. June 6 the christening and public tours of the canal boat, the group said on its website, http://forfw.org. At the event, which had been scheduled for tonight, Friends of the Rivers leaders plan to reveal the name selected for the boat during community online voting. Name finalists included Sweet Breeze, Kekionga and Big Chief, all of which relate to this area’s history as the home of the Miami Indian tribe.

“Heavy rains have raised the levels of the rivers, causing concerns for public safety, and the safe operation of canal boat demands that we delay the festivities to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone,” Irene Walters, Friends of the Rivers’ board president, said in an announcement Tuesday. “The rivers levels are receding quickly, and we are excited to bring the canal boat to the community next week.”

The Friends group also had to reschedule until June 8 the Rendezvous on the Rivers fundraising dinner it had planned for 6 p.m. Thursday on the Historic Wells Street bridge over the St. Marys River.

In addition, public canal boat cruises on the three rivers have been postponed slightly until after June 8, Walters said.

The group had hoped to begin the cruises about the end of this week. You can make cruise reservations through Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot, http://fwoutfitters.com.

When the Friends group announced the purchase of the canal boat early this spring, members said it would be used to help create more awareness about the local St. Marys, St. Joseph and Maumee rivers and how they also can contribute to local recreation, education and economic growth.

The replica canal boat, which is 54 feet long and 11 feet wide, is similar to those that passed through Fort Wayne in the mid-1800s on the Wabash and Erie Canal. It can accommodate 40 people on discovery or educational cruises. <br>

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WHAT: Friends of the Rivers plans to hold a christening of and public tours on its new 1840s-era, replica canal boat, as well as announce the name of the boat selected during community voting. This event was rescheduled from May 31 because of high river water levels.

WHEN: 5 p.m. June 6

WHERE: Community boat dock at Terrace Garden in Headwaters Park West.

COST: Free

INFORMATION: http://forfw.org

NOTE: Friends of the Rivers’ Rendezvous on the Rivers fundraising dinner originally scheduled for Thursday on the Historic Wells Street Bridge has been rescheduled to June 8.


The Friends of the Rivers canal boat will offer a variety of cruises after June 8, which can be reserved using the Fort Wayne Outfitters &#38; Bike Depot website, http://fwoutfitters.com. Under “Boat &#38; Bike Rental” in the navigation bar, click on “Canal Boat Trips.”

* Rivers 101: The 90-minute tour covers river basics, including water quality, points of interest, recreation on the rivers and downtown riverfront development.

* History on the Rivers: The 90-minute tour will highlight historical markers along the three rivers and what happened at those locations.

* Ecology on Our Rivers: The 90-minute tour shares information about plants, animals and more living in and along the three rivers.

* Father’s Day Family Special: The 45-minute tours are a shortened version of the Rivers 101 tours.

Cost for the first three tours is adults, $30; ages 6-12, $10; and ages 5 and younger, $5. The Father’s Day tour is adults, $20; and ages 12 and younger, $5.