Free Public Nature Walk At Chicago’s “Plymouth Rock”

Portage Creek, a tributary of the Des Plaines River, at the Chicago Portage National Historic Site

Portage Creek, a tributary of the Des Plaines River, at the Chicago Portage National Historic Site

The Friends of the Chicago Portage will conduct a special free public “Nature Walk” at the Chicago Portage National Historic Site Saturday, September 21st from 10AM to noon. Naturalist and master interpreter John Elliot will show the site’s native plants and how they’ve been used by the people who’ve passed through the Portage over the last several centuries. This public land has been the site of a few SUST student field trips the last two years.

Also, the Friends will be continuing their monthly Historical Interpretive tours the 1st Saturday of the month thru November. The next tour is Saturday October 5th.

Chicago owes its very existence as a city to the location of the Chicago Portage. The first European explorers, Joliet & Marquette, discovered the Chicago Portage in 1673. It provided an easy connection between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico by linking Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River. The Site is the only major remnant of the discovery and settlement of Chicago.  This is the only place you can stand on the same ground that all the explorers, first traders, and creators of Chicago once walked.  After touring the site the late Tribune columnist John Husar called it “Our sacred ground.”  It is certainly Chicago’s “Plymouth Rock,” one of only two National Historic Sites in Illinois.

Both tours will begin at 10AM at the statue of Joliet and Marquette in Portage Woods Forest Preserve. Enter Portage Woods on the west side of Harlem just 2 blocks north of the Stevenson Expressway (I55). These Tours are approximately 1/2 mile in length on a gravel path through the woods.  Wear long pants and walking shoes or boots.  All tours are free and open to the public.  Groups call 773-590-0710 for reservations.

For more information contact:

Gary Mechanic, Friends of the Chicago Portage
773-590-0710 (Cell) or visit http://www.chicagoportage.org

Friends of the Chicago Portage promotes the historic interpretation, ecological restoration, and appropriate development of the Chicago Portage National Historic Site through volunteer advocacy, public events and other projects that raise public awareness of the site’s history and significance.

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