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Author: Francisco Lopez de Arenosa
Category: Justice & equity
Description: Once an ecological sanctuary dominated by wetlands, the Calumet Region was altered by more than a century of industrialization. With little to no environmental regulations until the 1970s, Big Marsh Park is the Chicago Park District’s largest reclamation project—a natural landscape damaged by slag from nearby steel mills. But in recent years, restorative efforts have aimed to set the park on a new course where industry, nature and culture can safely coexist. Big Marsh Park is now home to a 45-acre bike park and a series of walking trails that provide eco-recreation opportunities in Chicago’s Southeast Side. At the park’s entrance, the Ford Calumet Environmental Center serves as both a gateway and a hub—educating visitors about its past and setting precedent for a new, sustainable future throughout the Calumet Region.