Adventurer, Paddler, Photographer Nels Akerlund to be keynote speaker at RRT Grand Opening Ceremony

Nels Akerlund has photographed the Dalai Lama.

The Rock River Trail Initiative is pleased to announce that Nels Akerlund, reknowned photographer and adventurer from Rockford, Illinois, will be our keynote speaker at the Rock River Trail Grand Opening, June 3, 10am in Beloit, WI.

Nels and his father Dan paddled the whole Rock River in 1994 and Nels is credited for being the youngest man to kayak the entire 2500 miles of the Mississippi River, from Lake Itasca, MN to the Gulf of Mexico. Nels and Dan Akerlund will also be honored on June 3 with a 320-Mile Patch from the Rock River Trail.

Nels has photographed everyone from the Dalai Lama, to US presidents (all since Reagan). He has photographed for National Geographic and his portfolio includes amazing wildlife and outdoor adventure photos.His photography has captured the beauty of our region and his work is featured by Go Rockford and Visit Beloit among other communities. He has published Our Rock River, a book about the 1994 journey on the Rock and Our Wisconsin River – Border to Border, a book about his 1996 journey on the Wisconsin River with his dad. 

Nels Akerlund will be among several featured guests and dignitaries at the grand opening celebration for the Rock River Trail. The event will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2017, 10-11am at the Rotary River Center, 1160 S Riverside Drive, Beloit, WI. Events will be held in the Beloit/South Beloit area that celebrate the trail, including paddling, hiking, flying, biking, horseback riding, history and chocolate! In addition, communties along the 320 miles of the trail will also be holding events during the week of June 3-10, 2017. Learn more about the grand opening celebration.

Learn more about Nels Akerlund’s photography at