The Rock River Trail is one of just ten water trails in the country to be designated into the National Water Trails System.
The water trail runs a 320-mile river course that links 11 counties in both Illinois and Wisconsin and connects access sites, resting places, and attractions for water craft users. In order to be designated, the trail must meet four criteria and actively implement seven practices for best management.
To celebrate the trail's designation, Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey and the Rockford City Council proclaimed this week "Rock River Water Trail Week". During the week, up to 10,000 trees will be distributed throughout the 11 counties along the Rock River. Each county will receive at least 900 trees; 450 of those trees will be slated for the public sector and the other 450 will be slated for farms, residences, and businesses along the river.
People in Winnebago County can call Rockford Park District Natural Areas Maintenance Coordinator Nate Hill at 815-289-9901 while supplies last. Distribution will be held on Saturday, April 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Rockford Park District Trolley Station, 302 North Madison.
Trees will also be offered by Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful at Rockton Village Green Park, 149 E. Chapel St., Rockton; Roscoe Public Works Building, 5402 Swanson Road, Roscoe; South Beloit Fire Station, 149 Gardner St., South Beloit; and New Milford Village Hall, 6771 11th St., New Milford.
The trail was designated by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and the official letter and plaque were received by the Rock River Trail Initiative's founder and coordinator, Frank Schier.
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