Hennepin Canal superintendent retires after 28 years

Steve Moser (left) is presented with a plaque from Barry Welbers, BFA president, January 23, 2010 at a retirement party in Moserís honor. Welbers praised Moser for his dedicated service and co-operation throughout his tenure.

Steve Moser, a man who devoted his career to preserving the Hennepin Canal, a 104-mile national landmark, has retired after 30 years, 28 of those working to transform an abandoned shipping route into a recreational state park.

When he took the job, the Army Corps of Engineers had recently abandoned the commercially useless canal, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources had put little money into its upkeep.

The eastern 30-or-so miles were dry, with trees sprouting up from the canal bed. Levees were washed out and no one had the money to repair them.

Among the projects Moser was most proud of are the levee repairs and paving towpaths, which were originally designed for animals to pull barges, turning them into bike trails.

Moser volunteered many hours meeting with groups interested in the Hennepin Canal. He would report on the canal and trail conditions, repairs and improvements, fish kills and causes thereof, and on the fishing prospect for anglers. He also encouraged the public to take an active part in keeping the canal vital by reporting potential problems along the canal and volunteering to pick up litter by joining the Adopt-A-Trail program.

Thanks to the Sauk Valley Newspapers for permission to use story content from a January 6, 2010 article by Sam Smith.