Illinois River Road
Corridor Management Plan Update
Ottawa to Havana, Illinois
The effort helped various partners and stakeholders associated with the Illinois River Road to update their management plan and to reorganize their efforts to bring together like-minded partners into a new umbrella organization as part of the process. The updated CMP identified common priorities for the organization and its partners. Recommendations provide the rationale, implementation steps and potential sources of funding for each action.
Getting outdoors, reaching various age groups and demographics, tying byway activities to the health and livbility quality of the Illinois River Valley are all endorsements for the activities the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway is promoting in the region.
People powered activities are an untapped reservoir of activities to
support in future byway efforts. Tying any proposed improvements, linkages or promotions to health care programs targeting the 25-44 year old demographic may also open a potential funding avenue. Beyond the health incentives, getting people out and on or near the water will do much to dispel the stereotype of the river and to communicate the positive changes that have occurred over the past thirty years in the Illinois River basin. No longer a place to avoid, it is a great natural resource for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and even swimming as demonstrated by the recent Bradley University triathlon where the swim segment took place in the river.
Getting visitors and residents ‘to the river’ is a key focus of the byway. River access needs specifics – support river infrastructure for canoe trails, e.g. shuttling/outfitters – blue trails. This
system will also give access to new stories (river landings, early history of settlement) that can be interpreted.
New and improved mapping, noting water access points such as those found in Peoria, East Peoria, potential access points such as at the Bass Pro property along the backwater (top right), the access point to the easily paddled loop such as at the USFWS Chautauqua site or between Henry and Lacon (2nd from bottom at right) will make it easier for visitors to get to the river and to build on nature tourism opportunities. Similarly, there are minor and major improvements that can be made to enhance the bicycle ‘friendliness’ of the byway and local communities. Maintaining a route for nonevent oriented riders is as important as sponsoring and supporting organized rides.