Chicago’s Calumet Open Space Reserve Plan is a blueprint for habitat restoration, recreation and trail connections on Chicago’s southeast side, covering 4,800 acres of one of the largest and most diverse natural wetland complexes in the Midwest. It intends to reverse decades of disinvestment and pollution in an urban location where high quality natural areas contrast with the “edgy” landscape of the region’s industrial past. More than 2,200 species have been identified living in the reserve area, including 200 species of birds known to nest in it or migrate through it.
Governor Pat Quinn led the effort as Lieutenant Governor to obtain Illinois’ first-ever National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That grant was combined with state and local funds to restore the Hegewisch Marsh, which is the site of about 120 acres of forest, Calumet River banks, wetlands and uplands where the Ford Calumet Environmental Center will be built. It will also connect to the Burnham Greenway, making for an uninterrupted system of bike and pedestrian trails from the north side of Chicago to the Calumet region. The Governor’s Office, Chicago Department of Environment, and many other governmental entities are working with environmental organizations and volunteers to support the restoration of this long-threatened ecological area.
For a print-friendly fact sheet on the Calumet Open Space Reserve, click here.
City of Chicago
Contact: Nicole Kamins, email@example.com, 312.744.5959