INDIAN PORTAGE TRAILS INC.
These trails were set-up as an eagle project and are maintained as a service project of boy scouts.
Our 63 miles of trails wind through 13,750 acres of the most hilly and scenic part of Cook County. In the palos preserves you will see woodlands,meadows, Lakes, ponds, glacial deposits, and a wide variety of plant and animal life. Each season gives a different and unique character to these trails. This area, created by the last glacier of The Ice Age, was once the home of countless Indian Tribes.
The last glacier of The Ice Age created the Highlands.vast deposits of clay,sand, gravel and boulders-- known as Valparaiso Moraine. As the glacier melted away it also created Lake Chicago which, 60 ft. higher than the present Lake Michigan pushing torrents of water thru two oulets carved across that Moraine, The DesPlaines River Valley and the Sag Valley. The Triangular Highland between them is known to Geologist as Mt. Forest Island.
The extraordinary number of sloughs, ponds and potholes in the Palos Region are due largely to the fact that as the glacier retreated, chunks of ice were left behind. When melted, there remained a kettle, with water, in the moraine.
These forest preserves 10 miles from the city limits of Chicago, harbor wildlife populations that are phenomenal in a county of more than five million people. The reason, of course, is that they comprise the most diversified holdings as well as the largest, with vast unspoiled semi-wild interiors. Their central feature is the wild Sag Valley. North of it and South of it the preserves are mostly hilly and wooded, with openings that were farmer's fields many years ago. Included are ravines, springs, brooks, creeks, ponds, potholes, large sloughs, lakes, limestone quarries, and even a narrow rock walled canyon: the woodlands provide colorful autumn foliage. There are fine upland meadows: a great variety and abundance of wildlife: and the best fishing water in Cook County. All of this is the result of unique geological history.
The area is likewise rich in traces, and traditions, of human history since the time of the Mound Builders-- centuries before Columbus discovered America-- Think of some others who have hiked trails before you, John Kinzie, Jean Baptiste DuSable, Louis Joliet, Father Jacque Marquette, and Sievr de Lasalle.
Walk the Indian trails as you trace the progress of the early settlers. Continue past Illinois-Michigan Canal until you reach evidence of modern technology-- Argonne Laboratory, Developers of Atomic Power.
As spring approaches, flocks of migrating waterfowl stop to rest and feed on McGinnis, Tampier, Saganashkee and Long John Sloughs. Some of the ducks, herons, bitterns and shorebird remain there to nest around the shoreline, inhabited by musk rats, may be seen the tracks of mink, raccoon, foxes and deer.
In Saganashkee there are a colony of beaver. Wild turkeys stalk thru the remote woodlands. In spring there are many areas notable for a profusion and variety of wildflowers.
The hillsides along the highways and the interiors along the trails are resplendent with masses hawthorns and crab apples in bloom. In summer, attracted by their greenness and coolness or by the many patches of wild berries, blackberry, dewberry and raspberry patches plentiful in meadows and woodlands openings at many locations and ripe for picking in July. Pawpaw trees and shingle oaks in Pawpaw Woods- the northern limit of where those trees occur in Illinois, spice bush is also plentiful.
Wild prairie roses, some climbing to the tops of hawthorn and crab apples trees, spring wildflowers bloom first in black partridge woods which, with its creek and big springs that flow the year around, was a winter retreat and chipping station for Indians.
The interiors have been preserved and restored as nearly as possible, in their natural state and condition. They are accessible only by walking, bicycling or horseback riding, and with miles of winding scenic trails constructed to encourage such use.
The preserves are used year round because they have so many attractions for so many, nature lovers, botanist, wildlife observers, fisherman, hikers, equestrians and winter sports enthusiasts. Most important , perhaps, are the opportunities they offer-- so rare and priceless in a Metropolitan . for one, to find peace from hurried life. Until and after the first settler, James Paddock, came their in 1834. For example, on the bluff above the intersection of Archer Ave, and Ill. Route 83, over looking the junction of the DesPlaines River and Sag valleys, Is St. James Church, and cemetery which occupy the site of an ancient Indian Village chipping and signal stations. One mile easterly along the crest of Mt. Forest Island, Is the site of the original Argonne National Laboratory where the world' first nuclear reactor was built in 1943.
Walking is the best and cheapest recreation-- it's good for your body, good for your soul, and a liberal education. Wear stout shoes and scout shrites with a sandwich in one pocket and some fruit or chocolate in an other. Take your time. Keep your eyes and ears open. Every place you look there is something to see. Get acquainted with the trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. Watch out for wild creatures. Sit down in a comfortable place, be absolutely quiet, and you should see plenty of them. Forest preserve trails have established for use by hikers, bicyclist and horseback riders-- safe trails thru the woodlands and along the streams so that you may enjoy them. You are invited to use these trails. Keep your eyes open. Enjoy the beauties of native landscape. Learn to know the trees, shrubs, wildflowers and aquatic plants. Watch for wild creatures but do them no harm. Be a true scout and outdoors man. Help keep this for children to enjoy.
Be friendly with trees, wildflowers and wild creatures. Be courteous and considerate to other people. Harm nothing; molest nothing. Be careful about fire; read and observe the rules. Place garbage in a receptacle. Leave the trails just as you found them or better.
In an effort to continue these fine trails, we will reprinted the original trail maps. We alert you to the fact that there are some changes in the physical ground which the trail passes. We ask you cooperation in assisting us to revise the maps.
As your unit hikes the trails, please send us any change or troubles you had hiking the trails.
When hiking these trails, take time out to appreciate the glacial beginnings, historic ruins, and, most particularly, the varied flora and fauna of our area.
Actual size of patch is shown on front. Entire patch maybe purchased at one time for 5.00 or segments can be purchased for 2.00 After each trail is hiked.