180,000+ visits/year in Villa Park, Wheaton, Maywood. Users are cyclists, runners, walkers, bird watchers, daycare kids. 60% of users are cycling. Users come from 100 zip codes and South Korea. A third of them buy food, beer, shoes, bikes. A few buy homes.
The Governor and IDNR announced funding for seven projects yesterday around the state, all funded through the IDNR’s Bike Path Program, which pays 50% of project costs up to $200,000. While you can Google to find each of these, we thought we’d do everyone a favor—including us—and consolidate all the press releases sent out yesterday.
Tomorrow, March 1 at high noon is the deadline for the next round of Bike Path Program funding and the federal Recreational Trails Program.
That’s 30’-tall Will B. Rolling being lowered into place this past fall in Port Byron, Illinois, one of the charming Mississippi River towns we’ll visit as GITy Up! goes bike camping along western Illinois’ Great River Trail, June 28-29, 2014.
GITy Up! is a tantalizing taste of trail-based bike touring for first-time bike campers and families. For the bike touring expert, it’s a RAGBRAI tune up and a quick fix for restless legs. GITy Up! 2014 features:
- 40 miles of leisurely cycling over two days on the historic Great River Trail, from Rock Island in the Quad Cities to Port Byron
- Family route bike camping option just 5 miles each day (might be perfect if you’re towing tots in a trailer)
- Beautiful riverside camping at Illiniwek Forest Preserve; limited hotel rooms available
- Easy packing - we haul all your gear!
- Great for families, for bike camping newbies, for bike touring vets with a weekend free
- Tons of fun along the route - family attractions, restaurants, breweries & riverside towns
- Dinner & breakfast are on us!
- Camp fire songs and s’mores - lots and lots of s’mores!
Registration is open, but it’s already filling up—GITy Up’s limited to just 150 riders.
GITy Up! promotes trail-based tourism in Illinois and supports Trails for Illinois’ efforts to connect trails across our state and grow their use. Thanks for reading, and we look forward to hosting you and yours in June!
- Back to the Future of Trail Building - Make Trails Work: Lake Shelbyville
- GITy Up! 2014 Takes You to the River
- Illinois Prairie Path: Sneak Peek at the Numbers
- Save Ray! Donors: Thank you!
- Trail updates, events, rumors and gossip
phoebes812 says: “A little Cal Sag Trail meeting was enough to get me out and onto a soon-to-be trail at the Cicero/Cal Sag bridge. Thank you for the inspiration.”
Wow, we’ve not posted nothin’ for weeks! The explanation: we’ve been turtled up to finish the Making Trails Count: Illinois Prairie Path project.
And we’re still not finished, but the data we’ve collected is kind of amazing, and I wanted to share a couple tid bits, just to show some life on this blog and, of course, to tease you.
Making Trails Count helps trail groups and agencies quantify the Triple Bottom Line benefits (economic impact, environmental stewardship, health) trails generate for users and the communities they connect. The data was collected by 28 volunteers, many of them members of the Illinois Prairie Path not-for-profit Corporation, who logged nearly 200 hours collecting almost 700 surveys the summer and fall of 2013. The University of Illinois Office of Recreation & Park Resources coded and analyzed the findings.
Environmental benefits—only 23% of trail users surveyed used a motor vehicle to get to the trail. For hundreds of thousands of people, the IPP turns their homes into trailheads.
Health benefits —Cycling, by far, was the most reported activity on the trail. Walking & running came in number two and three—depending on age group. And make your guess which age group was more likely to indicate “stress relief” as one of their reasons for trail use.
Economic benefits—You were pretty smart opening the bar, restaurant, or outdoor gear shop near the trail. Oh, that’s not you? Maybe it should be.
The IPP, it’s turning out, plays a huge role in the quality of life that western Cook and Dupage County offers. All who live there knew that, but soon they’ll know it in a way that can be leveraged to create more value from trail use, and to encourage more trail connections.
Parks & rec professionals will get a more detailed preview this Friday at the IPRA state conference in Chicago, 10am in the New Orleans room, and learn how Making Trails Count can work for them. Look for the full report in early February at http://trailsforillinois.org/maketrailscount.
(Photo by Diane Banta, National Park Service Rivers, Trails, & Conservation Assistance)
On my local trail at Homewood Izaak Walton about an hour ago, I came upon preserve volunteers Greg B. (foreground) and John M. (background) rebuilding boardwalk, checking cross ties for level with string.
There are so many things right with this work. Before federal transportation grants fed millions of dollars into trail building in Illinois, trails—heard of the Illinois Prairie Path?—got built. Trails get built now by eagle scouts, IMBA chapters, and volunteers like John and Greg.
In the spirit of May Watts, of IMBA, of volunteers everywhere, and in the context of a broken IDNR, a halved federal program, and a state losing tourism dollars and quality of life to its neighbors, Trails for Illinois will model a new way to build trails in Shelbyville, Illinois in 2014, a model that could be deployed to small communities, rural areas, and urban centers statewide. It’s a new way built on an old-as-the-hills yearning for service and for connection.
Watch next week for the next Trail News. May your home be your trailhead.
Lots to share in Trail News—making trails count on the Illinois Prairie Path, Mid-America Trails & Greenways conference, rumors and gossip in abundance.
Supporters have been enjoying this for a month already; get your news fresh by supporting Trails for Illinois!