Figure One: Millennium Reserve-Calumet Initiative Map

 Millennium Reserve-Calumet Initiative 101

The Millennium Reserveis the largest open space project in the country, which will enhance public recreation opportunities in 140,000 acres of land in the Calumet region. Today, Governor Quinn announced the start of the Calumet Core phase of the effort, which involves restoration of 15,000 acres of open space.

“This important project will convert an industrial area into valuable open space that gives area families a place to gather, play and experience the great outdoors,” Gov. Quinn said.

The Calumet Core Reserve will focus on improving the environment, economy and community. Efforts include:


  • Managing and restoring the 6,000 acres of natural areas that contain important high-quality biological communities and support over 20 rare plants and 40 rare animal species.
  • Completing and connecting 53 miles of trails and wildlife corridors throughout the area
  • Expanding and connecting natural areas and habitats with green infrastructure.


  • Modernizing the Illinois International Port District and creating thousands of new jobs.
  • Creating a destination region for tourists and visitors that will generate tourism jobs.
  • Increasing property values for home owners near the Reserve.


  • Reclaiming more than 3,500 acres of underutilized lands and brownfields.
  • Increasing opportunities for kids to be physically active.

The Millennium Reserve and its initial Calumet Core Phase closely align with SSMMA’s work with leaders in Chicago’s south suburbs. The Green TIME Zone of Chicago’s Southland is a strategy through which older communities can translate the value of their established rail infrastructure and manufacturing capacity into desirable neighborhoods, good jobs, and environmental improvement.

The strategy is built on three linked mechanisms for sustainable redevelopment: transit-oriented development (TOD) to establish livable communities, cargo-oriented development (COD) to capture the economic benefits of intermodal freight movements, and green manufacturing to build a healthy economy with a bright future. Read the full Green TIME Zone of Chicago’s Southland report here. Read the specific environmental benefits the Green TIME Zone will provide to the Calumet region here.

The Millennium Reserve Initiative is part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to reconnect people to the nation’s rich outdoor treasures. The effort will initially focus on transforming the Calumet region of Chicago into a one-of-a-kind public destination with over 15,000 acres of open space. It honors our cultural and industrial past while protecting and restoring natural ecosystems and supporting healthy and prosperous communities.

Chicago Southland Natural Environment Partners