A website has been created to encourage exploration of a new national water trail in Indiana and Illinois.
Kankakee County leaders have stepped up to promote the attractive sites along the Kankakee River, extending into northwest Indiana. The local website launched is www.kankakeeriverwatertrail.org
Last week's designation of the 133-mile Kankakee River Water Trail in northwestern Indiana and northeastern Illinois stemmed from efforts of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association.
The national designation may lead to boat launches, campgrounds and a portage service around dams at Kankakee and Wilmington. Boy Scout Troop 319, out of St. George, is helping with public service projects along the waterway.
Troop leader Mike Casagrande hopes the national recognition will interest more people and groups to get involved. Casagrande plans to seek more grants for future development.
Economic development leaders are hailing the news. Tim Nugent is president of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County. He says the region's leaders must take advantage of the national water trail to promote tourism.
The national scope of the project was heightened when the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis announced the designation last Friday.
The Kankakee River now is one of just tyhree water trails in Illinois to receive such a designation.
U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly and Adam Kinzinger are both in support of the trail and the opportunities it creates.