New and improved Northerly Island.
Learn about Northerly Island improvements made in 2014-2015. Note: Due to storms in October-December, 2015 the east portion of the trail in the nature area is blocked off until further notice. They are currently consulting with the Army Corps of Engineers to repair the erosion damage on the trail from the winter weather. The other half mile of the new trail is still open as well as the rest of the existing trails.
The southern 40-acres of Northerly Island have been closed for the last couple years (2013-2014) due to a U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers improvement project. Now they’re reopened. Plantings will continue on the southern portion through the fall of 2017.
Where: Northerly Island, 1521 S. Linn White Dr.
Visit their Facebook page for things going on there or call (312) 745-2910. Admission: Free. Parking is available in the Northerly Island Parking lot at the north end of the Nature Center Building (the old Meigs Field Airport Terminal) and costs $0.75 per hour before 9:00 AM and $1.75 per hour after 9:00 AM.
Improvements include more camping areas, expanded wetlands and additional trails and boardwalks. Per Blair Kamin, “The park’s cost was covered by $6.3 million in federal funds and $3.4 million from the Chicago Park District. The Park District’s share was paid for by revenue from a concert pavilion on the northern half of the island, officials said.”
- Modified landscape and grading plan to accommodate more camping areas
- The sight lines will correlate with the celestial calendar, aligning the visitor experience with constellations overhead.
- The increase in elevation of the hills will prevent bird strikes at McCormick Place. Birds need prominent topography as a visual cue to compel them to land and avoid crashing into structures such as large buildings.
- A deeper wetland (pond) that will reduce broad mud flats and help develop habitat.
- This will establish a habitat for the endangered mud-puppy salamander.
- Part of the installation will include educational and awareness video display of underwater habitat with a live feed to the Shedd Aquarium.
- The pond will also serve as an estuary non game species of fish. The deeper wetland will result in a habitat that is more likely to be wet during dry periods through its hydraulic connection to Lake Michigan. This creates a more consistently wet habitat for birds travelling along the migratory flyway that need to rest at Northerly Island.
- Additional trails, boardwalks, and a bridge at the south end.
- Public access will be increased to the wetland area, hills, camping grounds, and other locations of the park site.
- The formalized access paths will allow the public to interact with landscape and wildlife without disturbing the mesic prairie and wetland plantings.
- The paths and boardwalks will also enhance ADA accessibility. The installation of a bridge at the south end of the park that will complete the path system.
You can catch the Shoreline Water taxi at the northwest of the Shedd Aquarium to Navy Pier or catch the 146 bus on Solidarity Drive which runs east-west toward the Adler Planetarium. This bus heads back into the Loop.
South Loop Stations:
- Wabash & 8th Street
- Federal & Polk Street
- Michigan Avenue & Congress Parkway
In Grant Park:
- North West corner of Buckingham Fountain
- Indiana & Roosevelt
- Shedd Aquarium
- South west corner of Field Museum
- Adler Planetarium