FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Katie Test, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
CHICAGO-AREA TRAIL RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Names Illinois Prairie Path to Hall of Fame
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has named the Illinois Prairie Path as the sixth inductee to the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The Chicago-area trail is featured in Rails to Trails magazine and on RTC's Web site, complete with photos and a detailed ride-along description of its scenic views and important community connections.
The crushed stone, 61-mile rail-trail running through suburban Chicago is one of the Midwest's most popular pathways, attracting an estimated 800,000 users a year. Heavily used by pleasure-seekers and commuters alike, the route connects area rail lines with unique areas of dedicated open lands, making the trail simultaneously urban and rural.
"With the help of wonderful volunteer support, we have been able to expand and improve a trail system over the last four decades that is enjoyed by close to one million visitors a year. In addition to serving as a pioneer in the rails-to-trails movement, the Illinois Prairie Path is the backbone of a county-wide network of regional trails that will total 298 miles," says DuPage County Board Chairman Robert J. Schillerstrom. "We are honored that Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has chosen the Illinois Prairie Path for this recognition and hope that bicyclists, walkers and equestrians visiting our area will come to DuPage County and experience all the trail system has to offer."
The Illinois Prairie Path is a multi-use path shared by bicyclists, walkers, joggers and equestrians. The Path passes through a number of unique natural areas such as Lincoln Marsh—more than 140 acres with nature trails that allow viewing of 300 species of prairie and wetland plants and animals in this restored natural area.
"People are starting to ride bikes since the time has come to look for other means to save on gas, so we're starting to get a lot of use—it's just amazing from the small start we had!" says Dick Wilson of Des Plaines, Ill., who has worked on the Path since its conception. "[The trail] has done a lot for the community
lots of people use it, joggers, bicyclers and hikers and dog walkers. It's nice to be able to get away from the roads."
RTC's Rail-Trail Hall of Fame was established in 2007 to honor outstanding rail-trails. There are currently 1,500 open rail-trails, and approximately 750 more in development. Hall of Fame inductees are selected based on merits such as scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance of facility, community connections and geographic distribution.
Past trails that have received the designation include the Minuteman Bikeway in Boston, the Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle, the Katy Trail State Park in Missouri, the Pinellas Trail in Florida, and the Great Allegheny Passage in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
For a complete list of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame designations and stories, visit RTC's Web site at www.railstotrails.org.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 100,000 members, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information visit www.railstotrails.org.