The Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trails Plan was originally conceived by Gary Mechanic as national efforts to establish water trails and their benefits to local communities became better known. This plan established a vision for providing water trails for non-motorized boating on ten of the Chicago area’s waterways. Designed by representatives from local governments, tourism advocates, conservationists and paddlers, the plan designated nearly 500 miles of waterways as recreational water trails.
These water trails include the Calumet Area, Chicago River, Des Plaines, DuPage, Fox, Kankakee, Kishwaukee, Nippersink, Salt Creek and Lake Michigan. Details: https://paddleillinoiswatertrails.org/
FOR FURTHER READING AND SOURCES USED:
Public Waters in Illinois
For an interactive map of publicly navigable waters
Water Trail details from the National Park Service
Lincoln Heritage River Trail Report
For a national list of water trails