What's Happening at Big Marsh... It's a new a year and Big Marsh has plenty of plans for 2018.
What's New for 2018? With the help of Friends of Big Marsh and the Chicago Park District Big Marsh is going through an abundance of changes. As the park develops we plan to have programming and family fun for all ages. We'd love to see your involvement as Big Marsh transform into something great!
Maintenance Update By Logan Behyl
The park is currently soft and soggy, too soft for even fat bike tires, the single track will be open again after a few days of consistent freezing temperatures. We have a plan for tackling getting the jump lines running for the spring so now we are just waiting for weather to cooperate.
Ecology Update! By Lauren Umek
There is a lot of activity in the natural area just north of the bike park. Over the winter months, Chicago Park District contractors removed large chunks of concrete and other debris from the creek and graded the banks of the marsh with 1 foot of clean topsoil that will then be planted with a wet meadow seed mix. This work is being funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s 2017 Sustain Our Great Lakes program and is the first major step in improving 5.6 acres of native riparian habitat across 1.4 miles of creek and marsh banks and improving water flow through the marsh. Soon, we will begin placing stone for the base of a future trail throughout that 35 acre section of the park, inviting people to experience the native grasses and flowers that are establishing since restoration activities began just last winter.
Meet Stephen Bell...
As the new Center Director at Big Marsh, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to explore the Marsh, learn about its rich history and start to get to know the people and the communities that live, work and learn here. This winter has also proven to be a surprisingly enjoyable time to get to know what types of animals live in the Marsh. Their tracks in the snow tell a story of their habits, their appetites and their social interaction. The frozen surfaces allow access to corners of the marsh that are usually inaccessible in warmer weather. On my most recent walk, in addition to lots of deer and coyote tracks, I followed the tell-tale trails of mice, shrew, rabbits, musk rat and what may have been a fox. I was excited to see several Bald Eagles that are rumored to be considering nearby Hegewisch Marsh as a nesting site.
Looking ahead to spring, we are gearing up to break ground on the new Ford Calumet Environmental Center. The center will act as an education and information hub for Big Marsh and a gateway to eco-recreation opportunities throughout the Calumet region. The center is scheduled to receive a LEED Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building design includes a constructed wetland to filter and clean wastewater and exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the Calumet Region as well as classrooms and community meeting spaces for year-round programming. In the interim, as you wait for warmer weather and our building to open, I encourage you to get out to Big Marsh and take a winter hike or bike if conditions are favorable. Check the FOBM website for opportunities to volunteer and get involved in the rewarding remediation work that is happening across the site. I look forward to seeing you around the bike park soon!
What Made Those Tracks?
Follow Our Social Media Pages to see some of the cool animal activity at Big Marsh.
Mixer at SRAM for donors!
Friends of Big Marsh is raising funds so 2018 can be the best year yet at Big Marsh. You can donate on the website by clicking the Donate link. Anyone who donates in any amount, including our year end 2017 donations, will be invited to a mixer event, Big Marsh update, and office tour on Wednesday, February 21 at SRAM’s amazing office in the Fulton Market district. Please join Chicago Cross Cup, Chicago Cycling Club, our board members and many others in donating to Friends of Big Marsh! Save the date!