Proposed Midwest Interstate Trail would link Illinois, Wisconsin nature preserves

Officials have launched an effort to construct the Midwest Interstate Trail, which would link natural areas in Illinois’ McHenry County and Wisconsin’s Kenosha County.

An official kickoff event took place on Thursday, with organizers pushing for funding to get the project underway.

According to a press release, the trail would be available to both cyclists and to pedestrians, and would be a public-private project that would rely on funding from government and business sources to be completed.

“McHenry and Kenosha counties take pride not only in their open spaces, but also the innumerable ways that residents and visitors have to enjoy them – such as our great respective networks of hiking, biking and walking paths,” McHenry County Board Chairman Michael Buehler said in a statement.

To help kickstart the project, Thelen Sand and Gravel, which operates in both Illinois and Wisconsin, donated land for at least eight miles of the proposed trail.

“We are proud to work with McHenry County and Kenosha County, as well as the villages of Twin Lakes, Fox Lake and Spring Grove, to provide easements for a multi-use trail that will offer recreational activities, as well as economic opportunities, to help each of these communities thrive for generations to come,” company President Steve Thelen said in a statement.

The project would be a partnership between the Kenosha County Division of Parks and the McHenry County Conservation District, officials said.

McHenry County manages approximately 45 miles of mixed-use trails, while officials in Kenosha County oversee 16 miles of paved trails, 23 miles of multi-use trails and 13 miles of mountain bike trails, according to the release.

Funding is being sought from state governments, federal sources and private companies, according to the release.

Updates on the project can be found on both McHenry County and Kenosha County’s respective websites and mobile apps.

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