Home » Illinois Paddling Council Blog » Enhancing the Lake Michigan Water Trail from North Chicago to the Wisconsin border – Your Input is Needed!

Enhancing the Lake Michigan Water Trail from North Chicago to the Wisconsin border – Your Input is Needed!

Openlands has partnered with the IDNR’s Coastal Management Program (CMP) and the municipalities of North Chicago, Beach Park, Waukegan, Winthrop Harbor, and Zion to create a plan to expand and enhance the Lake Michigan Water Trail; specifically, the 10 mile section from North Chicago to the Wisconsin border. The goal is to connect local communities and visitors to Lake Michigan through programming and trail-improvement. We believe this will result in a well-used water trail that brings quality of life, economic, and stewardship benefits to the adjacent communities.

To realize benefits of enhancing the trail, we are in the process of prioritizing projects that will help make the trail safe, equitable, and thriving.

By safe we mean the trail will have ample information to allow citizens to make educated decisions about where and when to paddle. Training and guided trips will allow paddlers of all skill levels to experience the trail.

By equitable we mean a water trail that is accessible to children and adults of diverse backgrounds, skill levels and abilities and creates paddling opportunities for adjacent communities, even those without their own equipment.

By thriving we mean a well-used trail that inspires active stewardship, allowing ecosystems to flourish and that draws visitors, strengthening local economies.

With funding from CMP and REI, we have held 5 local paddling events, organized several planning meetings with local governments, businesses, and community leaders, and conducted a survey of paddlers that attended local events.

As we continue making this Lake Michigan Water Trail a reality, we would love to have your input at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/832G7ZP

For more information, please contact paddle@openlands.org.

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