Senator Duckworth inquires into Randolph County national park

“It’s not every day that a United States Senator calls to ask about a project,” said Chris Martin, coordinator of economic development for Randolph County. U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth met via teleconference with Martin, Ed Weilbacher, general manager of the Kaskaskia Regional Port District, and Dr. Marc Kiehna, chairman of the Randolph County Commissioners, last Friday. 

The meeting’s purpose was to answer questions and discuss the next steps for moving the Prairie du Rocher French Colonial Historic District into the National Park System. The district could be designated a national monument by the President under the Antiquities Act of 1906, or as a national park through the legislative process. 

“It was great to learn about the Prairie du Rocher French Colonial Historic District and the importance of the early French involvement to Southern Illinois and United States history,” Duckworth said.

Arriving at this point began almost three years ago when the Prairie du Rocher/Modoc/Edgar Lakes Levee System Steering Committee met to begin strategizing ways to address levee issues, while maximizing French history in Randolph County. The steering committee issued a strategic plan in January of this year. 

For more on this story, please see this week’s print edition.