By David Slone
WARSAW — The Tippecanoe River is one of the most important rivers in the United States, and Tippy River Adventures offers opportunities for people to kayak or canoe down it with every trip different than the last.
Friday, June 16, Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Tippy River Adventures as they have kick-started their second season.
Tippy River Adventures co-owner Jody Claypool explained, “We rent kayaks and canoes and we provide transportation services to put people in along the river.”
During the first season in 2022, Claypool estimated that 400 people kayaked or canoed down the Tippy River.
“We’re going to grow,” said co-owner Ryan Martin. “The more sections we open, the more people are going to want to be on this river. This river provides a different experience every single time you float it. You float it high water, it’s fast and the pockets are in one spot. Low water, it’s really slow and the pockets are in another spot.”
He said a person can see different things on every trip.
“Last year alone, we documented river otter, beaver, muskrat, barred owl nest with owlets sticking out of it. This year, we had a bald eagle fly ahead of us down the river. Blue heron. Deer. You can see something different every time you go and that’s not counting the fish. There’s a fantastic array of fish and turtle,” Martin said.
In medium water level conditions, an adventure on kayak or canoe is about two hours.
Tippy River Adventures section the river off into segments that people can do mostly in two hours because most people, if they want to do an adventure, are looking for two hours at a time. If they want to go longer, more sections can be stacked together, he said.
“So when I say ‘section,’ I’m talking about a two-hour segment that we’ve opened up, we’ve cut pockets through and we’ve been able to put people on the river. That’s a segment section,” Martin explained further.
The ultimate goal is county line to county line.
“The headwaters of the Tippecanoe River are just outside the county line to the east. We’re looking to open this river from county line to county line for canoe and kayak paddling excursions. Eventually, it will take you about two days to do that if you want to do it all. So it would be fantastic to be able to make that a two-day float along the way. So we’re working toward that. That would be about 10 to 11 two-hour segments,” he said.
Tippy River Adventures likes to call themselves the “premiere service provider, the white glove service provider for non-gasoline powered watersports in Kosciusko County because that’s what this is about,” Martin continued. “You don’t put a motor on here and zip up and down. You paddle it. Conservation, education, recreation – those are the pillars here. We’re trying to introduce people to the river, get people involved in the river, learn about conserving the river. And this is one of the top 10 most important rivers in the United States due to its biodiversity and wildlife habitat. We want to see that continue. We have an untapped gem right here in Kosciusko County, and that’s what we’re about.”
Claypool said they have someone who can do guided tours to show people the nature during events.
“It’s a good opportunity to get out and explore this really unique and valuable resource we have in our county,” he said.
Martin said the age limit for paddling kayaks solo is 13. “Otherwise, you’re going to be in a canoe where an adult or someone older than 13 is paddling with somebody else. There’s no age limit, though. We’ve had some families out here with very young toddlers. You just put them in the center of the canoe and go on your way,” he said.
There are two seats in a canoe but kids can fit into the center.
Martin said they can operate seven days a week. They take online bookings 24 hours in advance due to staffing, which can be done online at www.tippyriveradventures.com. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays can be booked online 24 hours in advance, with Mondays through Wednesdays booked by appointment. Mondays through Wednesdays is when Tippy River Adventures tries to do more of the group activities, but they can facilitate whatever a person needs.
Beginning kayak classes are usually held Thursdays, but classes for groups can be held on other days with at least 24 hours notice.
Echo Tours – where a person is educated about the river as they float down it – are groups of about 10 people. There are about five or six stopping points along the way, Martin said.
All the adventures start at Creighton’s Crazy Egg Café & Coffee Bar, 4221 W. Old 30, Warsaw. Check-in is at the kiosk.
The season will go until the first weekend in October, Claypool said. To schedule an adventure, visit the website at www.tippyriveradventures.com.
“We’ve got a place to book there. You can also make an appointment on our Facebook page – Tippy River Adventures,” he said.
Martin said, “The more people that can come out and enjoy the river, the more sections we can get cleared and the closer we can get to our goal of having this whole thing opened.”