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Pitch Your Tent Downtown: Camping Comes to Northerly Island

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As the multi-year project to transform Northerly Island into a eco-oasis nears completion, the Chicago Parks District along with Mayor Emanuel have been drumming up publicity for the US Army Corps of Engineers-led, Studio Gang-designed project to recreate natural wildlife habitats within an urban center. While the Parks District touts the green features, like the six distinct ecosystems in addition to the man-made lagoon and reef, Rahm has been touting a more human feature: camping.
While thousands of city kids might not get a chance to experience outdoorsy destinations in Michigan or Wisconsin, soon they'll have the ability to camp out surrounded by nature while still downtown, he boasts. Only about two miles from the center of The Loop, the island will have organized camping trips and hands-on educational programs for students from all around, which the mayor sees as a natural extension to Museum Campus where kids can discover and explore the wildlife, sleep under the stars, then wake up and go straight to the Field Museum or Shedd Aquarium.

Once the home of a private airfield, the new Northerly Island will soon be returned to the public as Daniel Burnham planned when it was first built in 1909. Northerly Island will have a limited soft opening this fall, and full control will be handed over to the city from the US Army Corps of Engineers in 2017 after all work is finalized.

·Previous Northerly Island coverage [Curbed Chicago]