President Barack Obama established Pullman National Monument on Chicago’s far South Side in February 2015. The site, Chicago’s only National Park unit, commemorates layers of industrial, labor, and race history that continue to the present day.
When I started working at Openlands in June 2012, I was excited that my new job would expose me to lots of places to get outside in and around Chicago. A native Detroiter, I knew precious little about Chicago’s suburbs and exurbs or about rural Illinois. Getting outside meant going up to Wisconsin or back to Michigan. In 2014, Sean and I started taking one Saturday a month between May and October to go with friends on a day hike somewhere within two hours or so of Chicago. The places we visited included Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Sagawau Canyon, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve, Ryerson Woods, and others. What started with a few friends grew into a Facebook group with friends of friends of friends. In 2018 the group has over fifty members.
On Sunday, June 18, 2017, our “Let’s Go Outside” group went to Pullman National Monument and a few other South Side spots.