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Millennium Reserve in the Calumet region of northeast Illinois is one of the largest open space initiatives in the country that is both urban and collaborative. Its promise includes:

Economic Development

  • Support and promote the revitalization of the Illinois International Port District.
  • Support development of local small businesses by entrepreneurs through micro-financing or other programs, expanded opportunities in the green economy, and farmers’ markets.
  • Facilitate new opportunities for cultural, historic, and eco-tourism.
  • Provide training and internships for green jobs including restoration and land management.
  • Support college programs that provide specific training for future career opportunities.
  • Encourage environmentally-sensitive manufacturing as well as sustainable transit, cargo, and related industry and maximize the value of existing transportation infrastructure.


  • Manage core natural lands that contain important high-quality biological communities and support rare plants and animals.
  • Expand and improve healthy natural habitats to maximize biodiversity.
  • Through expanded trail systems and other green corridors, increase natural area connectivity for people and wildlife.
  • Develop voluntary programs to encourage “greener” neighborhoods through native, low-maintenance gardening that provide a patchwork of healthy backyard-scale habitat.
  • Develop incentive programs to assist commercial landowners with habitat establishment and maintenance.
  • Build a system of green infrastructure based on a vision shared by Chicago Wilderness and the Go To 2040 plan.

Community Development

  • Continue growing the community of volunteer natural area stewards.
  • Coordinate with local communities to plan and implement sustainable land use concepts that reduce flooding.
  • Complete and connect trail routes throughout the area and sponsor events to highlight healthy outdoor recreational opportunities.
  • Expand outreach programs that encourage young people to explore their natural environment.
  • Promote innovative new uses for underutilized lands and brownfields by using IDNR’s Mud to Parks/Garden initiatives, renewable native biomass production, garden nurseries, organic farming, and other environmental strategies.
  • Connect people to their cultural, industrial, and natural history through trails, interpretation, and other creative opportunities.
  • Support the development of civic leadership within the region.

Updated April 2013