Everglades of the North: The Story of the Grand Kankakee Marsh, reveals the diverse ecology, illustrates the astonishing history, and explores the controversial saga of the Grand Kankakee Marsh in how people have used and perceived this wetland for more than 10,000 years.
Less than a century ago, there was an area in the Midwest that resembled the swamplands of Florida’s Everglades. Sometimes called the "Everglades of the North”, The Grand Kankakee Marsh once saturated nearly a million acres in Northern Indiana and a portion of Illinois.
The grand marsh was home to some of the highest concentrations of wildlife on the planet, with waterfowl so numerous they literally "blackened the sky.” Louis the XIV claimed this land as part of "New France.” The marsh was called Chicago’s food pantry. Industrialists made their fortunes from its seemingly endless natural resources.
Many sought the riches of the marsh, but at a costly price. Today less than 5% of the Grand Kankakee Marsh has survived man’s advances, but with a better understanding of the important role wetlands play in the environment, there is a renewed effort to restore part of what was lost.