1. What is Wild Mile Chicago?

Wild Mile Chicago will be the first ever, mile-long, wildlife first, floating eco-park in the world. Imagine a park that you can walk and kayak through floating along the banks of the Chicago River.

2. What are the boundaries for Wild Mile Chicago?

The floating eco-park will be located on the North Branch Canal of the Chicago River, a man-made channel along the east side of Goose Island between Chicago Ave and North Ave.

3. What is the goal of Wild Mile Chicago?

The goal of Wild Mile Chicago is to transform a section of the man-made, steel-walled Chicago River into an eco-park that serves people, wildlife, and the environment. Upon completion in 2020, Wild Mile Chicago will contain floating gardens, forests, wetlands, public walkways, educational learning stations, kayak access points, and more!

4. What are the prior efforts related to Wild Mile Chicago?

Wild Mile Chicago was first conceived as part of the North Branch Framework Plan, which was produced in partnership with the community and approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in 2017. (Download North Branch Framework Plan PDF here.) The initial 1,500 square feet of the park was installed in June of 2017 by Urban Rivers. This has facilitated pilot education programs and conducted ecological research to ensure data driven planning for the full mile-long installation. Check out the initial installation around the back of the Whole Foods near Goose Island! Additional efforts include an educational platform and kayak launch, which is in the design development stage and will be completed in the spring of 2019.

5. Why is Wild Mile Chicago important?

A few benefits of Wild Mile Chicago include:

  • Creating a more natural, protected habitat for wildlife in and around the river

  • Opportunities to educate the community in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)

  • Opportunities for expanded water recreation activities like kayaking and fishing

  • Economics benefits that accompany environmental innovations

  • A cleaner Chicago River!

6. Can Wild Mile Chicago really make the Chicago River cleaner?

Yes! As the water passes through the roots of the eco-park, the roots absorb the water along with the substances in the water. This process of using plants to naturally clean the waste in the Chicago river is called phytoremediation.

7. Who is working on Wild Mile Chicago?

The Wild Mile Chicago team includes the City Department of Planning and Development; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Urban Rivers; O-H Community Partners; Near North Unity Program; Omni Ecosystems; Tetra Tech; and d’Escoto. 

8. How can I share my thoughts and feedback on Wild Mile Chicago?

A great way for you to get involved and share your thoughts is to attend the three community meetings we host in November 2018, January 2019, and February 2019. Besides these community meetings, at any moment, feel free to email us with any questions, comments, or concerns you have (info@wildmilechicago.org). You can also send us a message through this website here. We want to hear from you!