Rock Island Trail State Park

Rock Island Trail State Park

Infobox_protected_area | name = Rock Island Trail State Park, Illinois, USA
iucn_category = III


caption = Map of the U.S. state of Illinois showing the location of Rock Island Trail State Park
locator_x = 124
locator_y = 107
location = Stark and Peoria counties, Illinois, USA
nearest_city = Wyoming, Illinois
lat_degrees = 40
lat_minutes = 58
lat_seconds = 12
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 89
long_minutes = 44
long_seconds = 42
long_direction = W
area = convert|26|mi|lk=on
established = 1989
visitation_num =
visitation_year =
governing_body = Illinois Department of Natural Resources
The Rock Island Trail State Park is a convert|26|mi|adj=on long public rail trail in the west-central region of the U.S. state of Illinois. It was descingated a National Recreation Trail in 2003.cite web |url= http://americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails/stateNRT/ILnrt.html|title="National Recreation Trails: Illinois" |work=American Trails|accessdate=2008-09-28 |format=]

It passes through portions of Peoria and Stark counties. The southern end of the trail is currently located in the small hamlet of Alta, Illinois, a suburban district within Peoria, Illinois, and the northern end is in Toulon, Illinois, the county seat of Stark County. The right-of-way served as a railroad line from 1871 to 1963, was unused in 1963-1989, and has been a public trail since 1989.

History

The trail derives its name from the former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, commonly known as the "Rock Island". The current Rock Island Trail is a fragment of what was once a spur line, built in 1869-1871, stretching southeastward from the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa to Peoria. The "Rock Island" owned extensive trackage throughout the North American Great Plains, and this branch line once delivered large quantities of barley, rye, and other small grains to the distilleries of Peoria for the manufacture of American blended whiskey. With the coming of Prohibition in 1920, use of the railroad for this purpose declined, and the last train ran in 1963.cite book |title=The Rock Island Trail: Echoes From The Past |last=David |first=Jim |year=2007 |publisher=Robin Thompson Charm School|location=Pekin, Ill. |isbn=978-0-9675318-3-0 |pages=viii-x, 63]

The Rock Island Trail became one of the first rail-trail conversions in downstate Illinois. The right-of-way was acquired for public use in 1965 and was deeded to the State in 1969, but it was only after a twenty-four-year period, in 1989, that the line was opened for use as a public trail. The official dedication came in May 1990.cite book |title=The Rock Island Trail: Echoes From The Past |last=David |first=Jim |year=2007 |publisher=Robin Thompson Charm School|location=Pekin, Ill. |isbn=978-0-9675318-3-0 |pages=64] cite web |url=http://www.ritrail.org/documents/Kellar%20Alternatives%202.pdf |title="Kellar Branch - Rock Island/Pimiteoui Trail Extension: Alternatives For Trail Development" |work=Peoria Park District |accessdate=2008-06-27 |format=]

Future

Trail advocates hope to extend the Rock Island Trail by converting the right-of-way within the Kellar Branch, an 8.3-mile (13 km)-long section of the same former Rock Island railroad line, into an extension of the trail southward. Implementation of this conversion would lengthen the trail through Peoria Heights to U.S. Highway 150, from which a separate existing trail serves the center of Peoria.

Points of interest

From south (Peoria) to north (Toulon):

*Kickapoo Creek Recreation Area (Fox Road, north of Alta)
*Bridge over Kickapoo Creek (Cedar Hills Drive, south of Dunlap, Illinois)
*Class B tallgrass prairie remnant (County Line Road, north of Princeville, Illinois)
*Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Depot (east side of Wyoming, Illinois)
*Bridge over the Spoon River (convert|2|mi west of Wyoming)

References

External links

* [http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/parks/r1/rockisle.htm Official site]
* [http://www.ritrail.org/ Friends of the Rock Island Trail, a nonprofit advocacy group]


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