Community Group Connections

The Chicago Portage National Historic Site is renowned as one of the most historic locations in the region for the role it played for Indigenous people and, later Europeans who explored and exploited the continent. Managed by the Forest Preserves of Cook County in partnership with the National Park Service, the Chicago Portage is also cared for by nonprofit and volunteer groups who steward the land and educate people about its historic past. Community connections include:

  • The Canal Corridor Association mission is to preserve history, protect nature and open space, and create destinations where people can learn and have fun in the I&M Canal National Heritage Area, from Lake Michigan in Chicago to the Illinois River in LaSalle-Peru including the Chicago Portage. Find their website here.
  • Friends of the Chicago Portage promotes the historic interpretation, ecological restoration and the appropriate development of the Chicago Portage National Historic Site through volunteer advocacy, public events and other projects that raise public awareness of its history and significance. Find their website here.
  • National Park Service: In recognition of its historic and cultural importance, the Chicago Portage was dedicated a National Historic Site in 1952, making it a unit of the National Park System in non-federal ownership. Find their website here.
  • Forest Preserves of Cook County: The Chicago Portage and Ottawa Trail Woods are only a fraction of the nearly 70,000 acres within the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Established in 1915 to preserve and protect natural lands for the enjoyment and education of the public, the Forest Preserves include not only forests, but prairies, wetlands, and other natural landscapes—including some of the rarest and highest quality ecosystems in Illinois. Find their website here.