One of the positive developments coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an overwhelming surge in outdoor recreation, and the lived realization of the astonishing health benefits of spending time outdoors. As social distancing measures increased, people throughout the country have turned to nature as a source of healing and comfort, the Calumet region included.
“Openlands and partner organizations in the Chicago region have been working for years to improve the enjoyment and quality of local rivers.That work includes designating more than 500 miles of “water trails” on the Calumet, Chicago, Des Plaines, Fox and other rivers, and creating an online guide to canoeing or kayaking on those waterways.
Focus groups of regional experts gathered in the Fall of 2019 to develop and then prioritize a list of actionable projects where the Calumet National Heritage Area (CNHA) could best be leveraged to make a difference in the region. The starting point for this conversation was the set of regional goals articulated for each content area after the extensive community engagement process undertaken for the CNHA Feasibility Study.
Calumet Collaborative, through grants from Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Coastal Management Program and ArcelorMittal, contracted The Lakota Group to create an Identity & Brand for the Calumet Heritage Area with guidance from bi-state project committees and stakeholder engagement. The Calumet Heritage Area brand is here and ready to be implemented after eight months of hard work from volunteers across the region.