Celebrate National Prairie Day on Saturday, June 1, with a 28-mile round-trip bike ride along the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Wauponsee Glacial Trail south from Joliet to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie near Wilmington.
Forest Preserve staff will lead the free “Pedal the Prairie” ride, which begins at 8 a.m. at Sugar Creek Administration Center, 17540 W. Laraway Road in Joliet, and heads south to the Bailey Bridge Trail withinMidewin. Fun points of interest and the history of the trail will be discussed along the way. Participants may stop and take photos or just soak in the beauty of the prairie landscape.
After reaching the Bailey Bridge Trail, riders will head west to the Iron Bridge Trailhead, where staff from Midewin will present information about grassland birds and native prairie habitat. Participants have the option to extend the ride 2.6 miles to the Midewin Welcome Center on their own to enjoy even more National Prairie Day activities. Midewin, which features a resident bison herd, is a 22,000-acre habitat owned by the U.S. Forest Service.
Cyclists will return to Sugar Creek unguided and at their own pace along the same path. The crushed limestone trail is not suitable for road or other thin-tired bicycles. E-bikes are not permitted on this particular ride, which is designed to be taken at a leisurely pace. There is no requirement to complete the whole distance, but riders should ensure that they, and their bicycle, are in the best condition possible.
Participants should bring water, but there also will be water stops along the way. Forest Preserve event sponsor Fitness Premier will provide nutritional snacks. FnA Outdoors will be at Sugar Creek at the beginning of the ride to perform bike checks starting at 7 a.m.
Register for “Pedal the Prairie” by Thursday, May 30, at ReconnectWithNature.org or call 815-727-8700.