Monday, April 18, 2016

Millennium Reserve: visiting Chicagoland's ambitious urban wilderness project

Did you know that the land surrounding the southern edge of Lake Michigan was once one of the most important ecosystems on the continent? I learned that last week at a public hearing I attended in Park Forest, IL. The subject was the Millennium Reserve initiative, which is a huge and ambitious undertaking that will involve--among other things--trying to bring back some of the ecological resilience and biodiversity of that region.

The wetlands of this area are located at the precise point where the eastern forest, central prairie and great lakes ecosystems meet, making it unique and irreplaceable. Of course, it's also where Chicago and Gary, IN created an industrial powerhouse that obliterated much of the natural environment. But, in the current post-industrial climate, there is encouraging new interest in saving what's left and restoring what's possible of this remarkable native system.

The Millennium Reserve is located in the Calumet region of Cook County, IL. Last week I spent two days touring some of the parks and natural areas that already have been established. Here is what I saw, one photo from each of the parks I visited.

Thorn Creek Trail, Glenwood
Glenwood Woods, Glenwood
Sauk Trail Woods, Chicago Heights
Osprey, Powderhorn Marsh & Prairie
Egger's Grove, City of Chicago
Controlled burn, Big Marsh, Chicago
Jurgenson Woods, Lansing
Indian Ridge Marsh, Chicago
Wampum Lake, Lansing
Brownell Woods, Thornton
William Powers State Rec. Area, City of Chicago
This is my second visit to the Millennium Reserve and second photo essay. To see the previous one, click here.

More images in my Flickr album.

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