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.
Trail News September-October 2013 -
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!
davery5555 asked: Hi Steve, I'm planning a bike trip on the I&M Canal Trail in October. What is the status of the trail between Buffalo Rock State Park and Utica? IDNR has no current information on their site and a search only revealed an article about the flooding in the area this past April. Thanks!
Hi, davery5555. Unfortunately, that trip would be high adventure, but maybe that’s what you’re after?
I just ran down current conditions for the trail: it blew up in the rain storms of April and May, and most of the damage remains. The big obstacle is a culvert collapse near Marseilles, which took out a road and a trail which makes bypassing it difficult. Repair could be complete by mid-October, but it’s hard to plan trips around “could.” Buffalo Rock to Utica is closed indefinitely by washouts, while Utica to LaSalle repairs should wrap up in the next couple of weeks.
The story of wash outs on the I&M has been told way too often the last four years or so. The quieter part of the story is that people still use it and find ways around, but no way can I recommend that, and I can’t imagine wanting to hang a planned trip on the possibility of being able to get through.
Are you on Facebook? Find the Starved Rock Cycling Association’s page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Starved-Rock-Cycling-Association/122845407820771) and post a question about I&M Canal detours. They ride tons in that area, and are likely to give you some good advice. Let them know I sent you.
Last I&M Canal Trail Bike & Dine in Lockport for the season! One last opportunity to enjoy riding a historic trail, to dine & drink along the way with friends, and to help Mainstreet Lockport improve the wayfinding signs & information along its section of trail—all at once!
We received a check-in this morning from Trails for Illinois supporters Gary & Judy Wilhelm, who are mission-bound to document every Illinois trail for our trail counting partner Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s TrailLink.com.
As promised, here’s what may be the final update on our list of all the completed new trail listings we’ve done this year for TrailLink. With these completed new listings, we now have on TrailLink ALL the qualified trails I can find in the state, from Peoria south.
The trails the Wilhelms have ridden and plotted with GPS this year (Gary’s comments in itallics):
Lake of the Woods Path (Mahomet)
Hidden gem of a country trail.
Greenbelt Bikeway (Champaign)
Village of Rantoul Trail
Great new rail-trail and ride through the old Chanute AFB.
Bunn to Lost Bridge Trail
Richland Creek Bikeway Trail (Belleville) http://www.traillink.com/trail/richland-creek-bikeway-trail.aspx
McKinley Bridge Bikeway
Hesse Trail (O’Fallon)
Eagle Points Trail
Great history unfurled in my lifetime!
George Rogers Clark Discovery Trail
Excellent R-T and taste of Ohio River history.
Eldorado Bicycle and Walking Path
You’re going to love this ‘linear park’!
Equality to Glen O. Jones Lake Bike Trail
Carlyle Lake Bike Trail
You can see all the trails the Wilhelms have plotted on their TrailLink.com profile.
Photo: Chicago Tribune archive