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About one-third of all work trips in Chicago are comprised of people biking, walking, or riding public transit.

Big Marsh bike park officially opens on South Side

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Yesterday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially cut the ribbon on Big Marsh, the 278-acre eco-recreation park in the Lake Calumet region of Chicago’s Far South Side.

The centerpiece of the new park is a 44-acre bike park that boasts a number of trails and other exciting features. Visitors will be able to take advantage of pump tracks and jump lines, as well as facilities for cyclocross and single track mountain biking — all built on a former industrial site.

In addition to the bike park, Big Marsh offers hiking, birdwatching and other ways to enjoy this unique natural setting within Chicago’s city limits.

Hundreds of people from across Chicago attended the opening day festivities, signaling the pent-up demand for more open spaces and recreation opportunities like those offered by the new park. 

During the brief press conference before the ribbon cutting, public officials and local residents alike remarked upon the hard work and collaboration that went into making Big Marsh a reality. The opening of the park is a true testament to the power of partnership between local residents and public agencies.

Due to the remote setting of Big Marsh, Active Trans has been working with local residents and community partners to advocate for safe bike, pedestrian and transit access to the park, as well as to other existing and planned open spaces in the Lake Calumet area.

Last year, we released our Big Marsh Access Action plan to outline the barriers and opportunities associated with safe bike access to the Big Marsh site.

This year, Active Trans is continuing to work with a network of local residents and stakeholders to ensure these priorities get included in the Chicago Park District’s Southeast Area Wide Plan, which will help guide future decisions about improving access to Big Marsh and other Lake Calumet destinations.

If you’re interested in getting involved in this work, please contact Cynthia Hudson at cynthia@activetrans.org.