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Illinois hunting and fishing

In this photo taken July 27, 2010, from left, Justin Dworak and Matt Bergmann, both of Galena, Ill,, and David Kolck, of Dubuque, Iowa, gather with their canoeing equipment in Kiwanias Park at the foot of Broadway in Hannibal, Mo. The three are canoeing the Mississippi River to raise both awareness and funds toward the historic oil spill along the Gulf Coast. (AP Photo/Quincy Herald-Whig, Michael Kipley)

Canoeing to highlight Gulf spill

August 03, 2010 at 01:47 PM

Quincy Herald-Whig

QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — Three guys, a cause, a canoe and a river.

That pretty much sums up the summer for Dave Kolck, Justin Dworak and Matt Bergmann, who have surrendered their personal lives for two months to raise both awareness and funds toward the historic oil spill along the Gulf Coast.

Kolck, 25, a resident of Dubuque, Iowa, is teaming with Bergmann, 26, and Dworak, 24, both of Galena, Ill., in navigating the Mississippi River from its headwaters through Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois to New Orleans. The three, who stopped in Quincy last week, are working in conjunction with the Louisiana-based, nonprofit Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper organization to draw as much attention as possible to one of the nation’s worst natural disasters.

“We were told this could be dangerous, but we knew those people down there are in trouble and we just wanted to do something,” Kolck said. “We looked into (relief) organizations in the Gulf and said, ‘Let’s see if we can raise some money.”

Information about donations toward the recovery effort along the Gulf Coast can be found at

Their journey started July 14, with a target date of Aug. 25 for reaching New Orleans, which Kolck admits might be a bit optimistic.

“We’re making about 20 to 30 miles a day,” Kolck said. “The weather will be the key.”

The trio has had problems with rain and wind, but some of the days engulfed with high temperatures and humidity have not been overly draining, according to Kolck.

“When you’re out on the water, it’s not too bad,” he said.

Kolck said the three began their journey on a rubber raft, which was towing another raft with various supplies. One day into the journey they ditched the lead raft — which sustained some irreparable damage — in favor of a canoe, which they plan on using the rest of the journey. Kolck said they may soon get rid of the remaining raft.

“We try and hit a town every day,” said Kolck, who after landing in Quincy ate lunch at a downtown tavern a few blocks from the river.

Earlier in the journey, the three travelers were sleeping at night on sandbars and shorelines, but are now opting for riverfront parks, mostly for safety reasons.

Kolck took a leave of absence from his jobs in retail and as a bartender, Dworak is an unemployed mechanical engineer who was working as a landscaper, and Bergmann is a welder who owns his own business.

“My bosses told me if I was committed to this to go for it, it was the chance of a lifetime and that my jobs would be waiting for me when I got back,” Kolck said. “Justin said he could work it into his schedule.”

Most of their meals have been combinations of Ramen noodles and trail mix, although they do occasionally come ashore for some better nourishment like they did in Quincy. They have laminated maps and a GPS to mark their progress.

“We all have waterproof cell phones,” Kolck said. “We also have a laptop so we can update Facebook and watch movies.”

After arriving in New Orleans, they will sell the canoe, donate the money and begin a second journey — back home.

“We’ll be riding a train back home,” Kolck said.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Awesome guys. Wish I could have joined ya. Its great that you 3 are doing something when most are sitting on their azzes. Im sure Budweiser would have let me off lol and donated something. I actually have that same canoe in your picture. Keep it up and be safe along the way.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/05 at 06:12 AM

Uh…the spill has disappeared, and somebody might want to inform these guys that BP’s shaken down $20B might—just might—cover the “losses.”  Good grief.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/05 at 12:15 PM

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