This website was inspired by the Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trails Plan. Adopted in 1999, this plan established a vision for providing water trails for non-motorized boating on ten of our region’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.
Water Trails improve our quality of life by bringing outdoor opportunities and benefits closer to home. Benefits include recreation, stewardship, eco-tourism, education, and economic benefits.
Many thanks to our partners who assisted in implementation of the water trails plan and to the sponsors of Openlands paddling work.