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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2000

Ryan Reaffirms Support For Completion of Grand Illinois Trail

SPRINGFIELD ­- Governor George H. Ryan today reaffirmed his pledge to support completion of the Grand Illinois Trail, the 475­mile loop trail connecting the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan through northern Illinois, proclaiming June 2nd and 3rd as "Trails Days" in the state of Illinois to coincide with the National Trails Day which is observed on June 3.

"The Grand Illinois Trail provides a connection for trail users to our state's rich array of natural resources, beautiful and scenic vistas, and our significant cultural and historical heritage," Ryan said. "The Grand Illinois Trail provides links to outstanding recreational opportunities, is a boost to local tourism throughout the region and helps connect people with people."

The Grand Illinois Trail is being developed through partnerships involving municipal and county governments, park and forest preserve districts, local organizations, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

At present, more than 200 miles of the Grand Illinois Trail are open. Another 100 miles of new trails are under construction, while state and federal funding is being secured for another 50 miles of new trails. Approximately 125 miles of the trail will be on­road, signed bicycle routes on existing roadways.

The southern leg of the Grand Illinois Trail will be part of the coast­to­coast American Discovery Trail extending from Delaware to San Francisco. The Grand Illinois Trail will be a link in a proposed Mississippi River trail from New Orleans to Lake Itasca, Minnesota.

A copy of the Trails Days proclamation is attached.

Whereas, Trails are popular facilities in Illinois and throughout the United States; and

Whereas, Trails are a valuable community resource providing recreational benefits to residents while improving the quality of life and attracting visitors; and

Whereas, Illinois' trails connect their users to unique natural resources, significant history, beautiful scenery and a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities; and

Whereas, the 475 mile Grand Illinois Trail is the longest, continuous trail in Illinois and one of the longest multi-modal (hiking-biking) trails in the United States; and

Whereas, the Grand Illinois Trail will connect a variety of landscapes and experiences across Northern Illinois; and

Whereas, the I & M Canal trail, which forms a section of the Grand Illinois Trail, has been designated a Millennium Legacy Trail by the White House Millennium Council, thereby connecting Illinois to a nationwide network of trails; and

Whereas, the numerous individuals, organizations and state agencies that have worked together to develop the Grand Illinois Trail will continue their partnerships in an effort to complete the trail;

Therefore, I, Governor George H. Ryan proclaim Friday June 2 and Saturday June 3, 2000 as Trails Days in Illinois in recognition of the benefits that trails provide to the citizens of Illinois and the continuing efforts to develop trails throughout Illinois.



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