The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

Program Partners


Our mission is to manage, protect and sustain Illinois' natural and cultural resources; provide resource-compatible recreational opportunities and to promote natural resource-related issues for the public's safety and education.

Partner Category: Public Agency

Centennial Activities

Burnham Greenway Gap

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Of all the Green Legacy projects, perhaps none could be more productive in bringing together unconnected green infrastructure than closing the Burnham Greenway gap—the missing link in a crossroads of several trails of regional, state and national significance. This keystone location of strategic importance is a two-mile gap in the 11-mile Burnham Greenway, a former railroad right-of-way linking Chicago to Lansing. Closing the Burnham Greenway gap is a major Green Legacy goal and creates a hub tying together hundreds of miles of local, state and inter-state trails. [MORE]

Hack-ma-tack National Wildlife Refuge


Creating a new national wildlife refuge of up to 10,000 acres spanning the Illinois-Wisconsin state line in the rapidly developing northwest part of the metropolitan area would dramatically advance the Green Legacy goal of preserving regionally significant open space. This bi-state area is home to a dramatic glacial landscape and to an extraordinary collection of diverse aquatic and terrestrial communities.

Friday, March 27, 2009 noon to 2:00pm

Illinois Women Film/Video Artists Look to the Future

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

The film presentation of Illinois Women Video Artists focuses on alternative ideas about urban design. Ines Sommer's film Arrivals and Departures focused on the expansion of O'Hare Airport and the community surrounding the airport. Nancy Bechtol's Lightride Series: The Road, documented traffic in large urban areas. In Emjayzee and The Adventures of My Name, a homeless poet discussed living on the streets of a large urban area. A discussion on urban planning and how we can improve the quality of life for future generations will follow the videos. [MORE]

Kankakee Sands

The Nature Conservancy

This Burnham Plan Centennial Green Legacy Project has helped enhance local pride in a bi-state region that contains one of the rarest ecosystems on earth—the landscapes at the south end of Lake Michigan where sand and water shifted through the millennia to create rich environments for nature and wildlife. Tens of thousands of acres of sand prairie, savanna and marsh lands originally comprised the Kankakee Sands region, which spans the Indiana–Illinois border and generally follows the Kankakee River.

McHenry-Lake Connection

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

This project will connect the existing Moraine Hills State Park River Road Trail to Lake County’s Millennium Trail and is part of the northeastern Illinois regional trail system and the 500-mile Grand Illinois Trail. DNR has funding for Phase 2 engineering and construction for the project. This project will help achieve Burnham’s original vision to create an “outer…parkway circuit” around Chicago. [MORE]

Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trails Plan


The Centennial year commemorates the completion of nearly 90 percent of the 500-mile Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trails Plan. The Plan was developed by Openlands, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC), Illinois Paddling Council and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It was adopted by NIPC in 1999.

Outdoor Illinois Magazine, June 2009 Issue

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

The monthly publication will produce an article on the Plan of Chicago which mapped out a regional "emerald necklace" of forest preserves for Northeastern Illinois, the essence of which continues to guide planners.  It also features a story on Wolf Lake Prairie, just 15 miles from the Chicago look and touted as one of the largest and best-quality black-soil prairies east of the Mississippi River. [MORE]

Sunday, March 15, 2009 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Uncle Dan's Original Plan

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

In his only Burnham Plan Centennial presentation, popular guest speaker Tim Samuelson, the City of Chicago’s Cultural Historian, will discuss Burnham’s early contributions.  Before his famous 1909 Plan of Chicago, Burnham captured national attention with an ambitious plan to beautify Chicago’s downtown and South Side lakefront.


Illinois Department of Natural Resources
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
[Get Directions]

The Burnham Plan Centennial
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