The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

Calendar & Projects


Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Midewin is the largest protected open space in the Chicago metropolitan region and the largest grassland restoration ever initiated east of the Mississippi River. 19,000 acres of native tall-grass prairie are being preserved and restored. Midewin’s sweeping landscape on the former site of the Joliet Arsenal 40 miles southwest of Chicago, is in one of the region’s fastest-growing counties. Now owned and managed by the US Forest Service, it will be a tremendous natural asset for neighboring communities and the metropolitan area as a whole. Uninterrupted vistas evoke northeastern Illinois’ historic tallgrass prairie landscape and provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.

Midewin (mid-AY-win) meets the Centennial Green Legacy goal of preserving regionally significant open space and is finding new ways to make this major anchor for the region’s green infrastructure publicly accessible. The Burnham Plan Centennial brought new partners together to help the Forest Service plan interpretive facilities and infrastructure that will enhance access to and appreciation of the reserve including its restored prairie, cultural and industrial history. Thanks to the participation of the American Planning Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Institute of Architects and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), there are several exciting plans for state-of-the art visitor facilities, and alternative transportation schemes, to help Midewin realize its potential as the Chicago region’s newest national prairie park.

For a print-friendly fact sheet on the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, click here.

Program Partners

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Will County, Illinois, was created by the Illinois Land Conservation Act in 1996.  The Act directed the Army to transfer 19,165 acres of the former Joliet Arsenal to the U.S. Forest Service for native ...

AIA Illinois

AIA Illinois, a council of the American Institute of Architects, has more than 4,000 members throughout Illinois. Its mission is to advocate a livable built environment by advancing the profession of architecture in Illinois.  Its goals include:

* Advocating ...[MORE]

AIA Northeast Illinois

The Northeast Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects exists to celebrate and promote the profession of architecture, provide opportunities for professional growth, and improve the built environment.

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Midewin Welcome Center 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Mon-Sat

Contact: Marta Witt, 815.423.6370,

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