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Experience the African American Heritage Water Trail

Few people realize that Lake Michigan is connected to the Mississippi River by a series of waterways, including The Little Calumet River. The river flows through several south-side Chicago neighborhoods and 180 years of African American history—sites and figures whose impact remains with us today.

The Heritage Water Trail honors this history by memorializing the remarkable stories of African Americans who settled along the river: freedom seekers who traveled the Underground Railroad, trailblazers who defied discrimination, learned to fly, and became Tuskegee Airmen, and pioneers in the struggle for civil rights and environmental justice. These stories of courage and fortitude have shaped our nation.


Volunteer with Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Community Paddling Program

The Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Cook County Department of Public Health have started an innovative, ground breaking program to make paddling accessible to beginners, groups, and those who do not own their own boats through a community paddling initiative, the Greater Maywood Paddling Program and Kayak Gear Library.  The program provides opportunities for organized groups within the Maywood community to connect to nature and water through kayaking experiences. Group leaders of participating community partners will be trained on kayaking, use and care of kayaking gear and how to lead groups on kayaking trips. Once certified, trained leaders will have access to the use of the Kayak Gear Library which has the supplies for an organized group paddling trip.

Learn more…


For more information, please contact paddle@openlands.org

Photo: Wilderness Inquiry