Field Trip

On Thursday, September 28th, we will visit Starved Rock State Park and the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center at the Starved rock Lock and Dam.

Starved Rock State Park is located along the Illinois River in La Salle County, designated as Illinois’ second state park in 1911. The park has more than 13 miles of trails with access to rain fed waterfalls, sandstone overhangs, and its 18 canyons “with vertical walls of moss-covered St. Peter Sandstone formed by glacial meltwater that slice dramatically through tree-covered sandstone bluffs”. The park sits in a region with rich history, inhabited as early as 8000 B.C. Hopewellian, Woodland and Mississippian Native American cultures thrived in the region. “The most recent and probably the most numerous group of Native Americans to live in the region were the Illinois. Various subtribes who belonged to the Illinois Confederation occupied the area from the 16th through the early 19th centuries. The Kaskaskia people were one of those subtribes. They lived directly across from present day Starved Rock State Park in an area known as the Grand Village or La Vantum by the French”.

The inland waterway navigation system is essential to the economy of the Midwest as well as the nation. The Rock Island District’s waterway navigation system is the second longest of any Corps District and the number of locks and dams it manages also ranks second within the Corps. Rock Island District maintains 314 miles of nine-foot navigation channel on the Mississippi River, including operation of 12 lock and dam sites; and 268 miles on the Illinois Waterway with operation of six lock and dam sites. Starved Rock Lock and Dam is 231.0 miles above the confluence of the Illinois River with the Mississippi river at Grafton, Illinois. The lock and dam is located about 1.5 miles southeast of Utica, Ill. The dam is a gated, concrete, gravity dam, 1,280 feet long. A 680-foot-long Tainter gate section contains 10 Tainter gates. The headgate section contains 30 headgates that were plugged with concrete in 1982. The 52-foot-long ice chute section of the dam includes a 52-foot-long inoperable Tainter gate. The lock is the standard 600 feet long by 110 feet wide. The maximum lift is 18.5 feet with an average lift of 17 feet. It takes approximately 12 minutes to fill the lock chamber; nine minutes to empty. The lock opened in 1933. Starved Rock Lock and Dam was one of five designed and partially constructed by the state of Illinois over a period from 1926 to 1930.

We will make three stops on September 28th:

Due to limited space on some of the visited facilities and to allow for better interaction with our hosts in smaller groups, we will split the group in 3 subgroups, each assigned to one shuttle bus for the whole day. An itinerary for the day is provided below:

Starved Rock State Park and Starved Rock Lock and Dam