The Southeast Side is a section of Chicago that is rarely explored by anyone who does not live in the neighborhoods that make up this unique corner of the city. The area is steeped in the culture, art, history, and stories of the families and neighborhoods that live, work and thrive here. The Southeast Side has long been known as the transportation and industry hub for Chicago and the entire Midwest; crisscrossed by railroad tracks, rivers, bridges, and highways. It is the birth place of organized labor and environmental justice. Nature has lived in the shadows of the Southeast Sides’ industrial legacy. Since 2011, The Chicago Park District and its partners have been working to reclaim multiple tracts of degraded habitat across the Southeast Side.
By capping, removing invasive species, and planting and seeding native trees, grasses and shrubs, our goal is to restore and remediate these sites to healthy habitats that support wildlife, birds and pollinators, and simultaneously create opportunities for people to connect to and discover nature, oftentimes right in their very own back yards.
With eco-recreational opportunities abound, there’s something for everyone. Choose from biking at Big Marsh Park to climbing the iconic ore walls at Steelworkers Park to birding at Indian Ridge Marsh. And more!
We encourage you to visit and explore our sites and our neighborhoods. Stop by the Ford Calumet Environmental Center at Big Marsh for a look at the history and culture of the Calumet Region and plan your eco-recreational adventure.