PEORIA, IL -- The Rocky Glen event on Oct. 20 went well.(See previous post.) Even the weather cooperated, with beautiful blue skies.
Rocky Glen is a lovely wooded area. The site now has trails to the waterfall site and the nearby old coal mine, now a bat cave. The glen is a historic/geologic/biological wonder.
The hike takes about 90 minutes if you stop to read the helpful signs. Wear hiking shoes or sneakers that can take some mud, as the trail is slick and rough in spots. It has some steep areas, and is a good workout.
The entrance to the old coal mine, allows bats to enter and exit but not people.
There's a small parking lot next to the trailhead.
Here's the Journal Star's story.
This great new Peoria park came into being under the leadership of Dave Pittman. Here is his talk, which summarizes all those who have helped:
Remarks at Celebration Rocky Glen 10/20/2018
Thank you for coming today. My name is David Pittman, current president of the Friends of Rocky Glen, a non-profit volunteer group. Today marks the fulfillment of a promise. A promise to the people of Peoria and Illinois by the Peoria Park District and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. These folks promised that Rocky Glen would be a public natural area park, with safe facilities, open to the public 365 days a year. Look around you. Here it is.
A $200,000 purchase of 70 acres of treasure in 2011, Rocky Glen is a fascinating mixture of geology, rare biology and human history. Back in the 1940s, folks wrote the Peoria Journal Star saying Rocky Glen should be a park. Carved into the sixty foot sandstone rock walls are dates that go back to the 1880s, proof that Rocky Glen is both one of the oldest Parks in Peoria as well as one of the newest.
So it makes sense that the will of the people, consistent over time, combined with scientific evidence of the unique natural areas here should establish Rocky Glen Park as legacy for the next century. And it makes sense that the Peoria Park District with its unique expertise become the stewards of Rocky Glen. It certainly makes sense, but the creation of the park did not come easily.
Unlike most parks, Rocky Glen was not not created by a generous large donation by a philanthropist but by the sustained efforts of citizens who gave of their time and their skills over many years. Beginning with donations and book sales and 50-50 raffles with art auctions and the sale of a fantastic original art piece, volunteers combined free guided monthly hikes and grant writing, challenge grants and matching Foundation grants in fundraising. It was many many people of Peoria who created the desire, sustained the public government will and encouraged public agency staff to jump through the bureaucratic hoops to make today the Celebration it has become.
Friends of Rocky Glen has hosted nearly 100 public hikes and guided several thousand people to see for themselves the beauty of this incredible place. I want to thank each of those hikers for their kindness, their letters of support to public officials, their financial donations, and their appreciation of Rocky Glen. We the People are alive and well in the Peoria Park District, in Peoria County and in West Peoria, Illinois.
I want to specifically thank the following Friends of Rocky Glen Board members:
There will be a quiz afterwards, so please pay attention.
Todd Abercrombie our webmaster. Michele Kiergard our awesome Facebook Administrator. Thanks to Lynn Dempsey our Treasurer and Secretary and my dear friend. Thanks to Tracy and Rick Fox who inspire me every day. Thank you to Marshall Hopkins, Cheryl Resnick, Ed Stermer and Vanessa Voelker. Thank you to past Board members Elaine Hopkins, Rita Pogioli, Mariel Parrish, Phillip Lockwood Matt Ryan and my lovely wife Teresa Smith.
I want to thank the West Peoria Residents Association and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley University for their steady support. Thanks to Jimmy C Dillon of the Peoria County Board and his dad James R Dillon, Mayor of West Peoria for the behind the scenes work to bring the landowner into an official agreement to buy Rocky Glen. Thank you to the Rucker Family Foundation for their early and ongoing steady as a rock support for our vision. And a shout out beyond the grave to Bill Rutherford, who took his future wife Hazel on their first date as high school kids to Rocky Glen nearly 100 years ago.
I want to thank Scott Hillyard of the Peoria Journal Star for his early stories and recognition of the wonderful human history of Rocky Glen. Thank you to Darryl Kussendorf of Sky Harbor Steak House, Clay at Country Club Bar BQ, Rhodell Brewery and Shawn at Kennys Westside Pub. A very special shout out to Jimmy Spears and the staff of Jimmys Bar who took a hike with me into Rocky Glen and fell in love with the place. Thank you to the Clean Energy Foundation for their support for this Celebration and our trail signs. Thank you to Doug and Eileen Leunig, to author Bill Knight, to the Community Word and to the Family of Ronald Roos. Thank you to Peggy and Chelsea for their outstanding work on our trail signs.
I want to thank the Pimetoui Trail Association, who have hosted hikes into Rocky Glen. Thank you to Bruce Brown and Norm Kelly for their support, to Inter Business Issues and Jonathan Wright for his sensitive stories. Thank you to the Forest Park Foundation, the Peoria Camera Club and the Moss Bradley Residents Association. Thank you to the Illinois Labor Historical Society for their early support of the tremendous story of creating a union for the coal mining industry that happened right here in Rocky Glen.
We owe so much to Senator David Koehler, to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Angella Morehouse and the Nature Preserves Commission. Thank you to the City of West Peoria, the City of Peoria and especially Susan Schlupp, formerly of Peoria Department of Economic Affairs, who postponed her retirement in 2011 to help steer the Rocky Glen agreement through the bureaucratic shoals. Thank you to Marilyn Leyland for sharing her grandfather’s photographs of Rocky Glen. A very very big thank you to retired park district director Bonnie Noble who recognized and supported the Rocky Glen vision over many years.
Dave Pittman speaks at the event.
-- Elaine Hopkins