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The cycling advocacy group Rails-to-Trails Conservancy announced plans for a 4,000-mile-long Great American Rail-Trail. “Today, there are more than 23,000 miles of rail-trails crisscrossing the countryside and another 8,000 miles of rail-trails ready to be built—making the Great American Rail-Trail viable for the first time.” This trail will go across the country, from the Capital Crescent Trail in Maryland to the Cascade foothills just outside of Seattle – completely separated from vehicular traffic. The Hennepin Canal Parkway will be Illinois’ gateway.
Boasting more than 100 miles of trail, the Hennepin Canal Parkway parallels the early-20th-century canal along which visitors will see many of the old locks and aqueducts. From the Illinois River in the east to the Rock River (and almost the Iowa border) in the west, the pathway offers passage through the varied terrain of northwestern Illinois, including forests, grasslands, marshes and farmland. It includes Bureau, Henry, and Whiteside Counties. The Visitor Center is located off Interstate 80 just west of State Route 40 near Sheffield.
“The Great American Rail-Trail will connect rail-trails, greenways and other multiuse paths spanning nearly 4,000 miles, connecting communities and bringing untold benefits to all who meet the trail.” Just imagine the possibilities to connect this Trail with everyday destinations!