Canal Corridor Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving history, protecting nature and open space, and creating tourism destinations in the I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor. Founded in 1981 (as the Upper Illinois Valley Association) to advocate for the creation of the I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor, CCA has been working tirelessly since then to make the corridor the destination it is today.

What it Does:Edit

Canal Corridor Association (CCA) preserves history, protects nature and open space and creates destinations where people can learn and have fun in the I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor, from Lake Michigan in Chicago to the Illinois River in LaSalle/Peru. It enhances, raises awareness of and expands the parks, trails, landscapes and historic sites that make the I&M Canal region a special place. CCA was formed in 1982, to secure Congressional designation of the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor , whose centerpiece is the hand-dug, 96-mile I&M Canal. Completed in 1848, the canal was the first inland waterway to link Lake Michigan and the Illinois River – opening commerce and travel between the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico, and forever changing the face of the continent

Where it operates:Edit

CCA works throughout the heritage corridor in Illinois’ LaSalle, Grundy, Will, DuPage and Cook counties.


CCA works with public and private partners to build heritage tourism in the corridor and make the canal a resource for learning. A sampling of projects that CCA is spearheading includes:

  • The La Salle Canal Boat , The Volunteer, family tourist destination near Starved Rock State Park, that has recreated a historic canal port – transporting visitors back in time to experience what travel was like in 1848. Visitors enjoy one-hour rides on the canal in mule-drawn replica canal boats and other Port-related activities.
  • Canal Origins Park, a three-acre park ready for a ribbon-cutting at the eastern end of the corridor where the canal began in Chicago. The park uses public art created by local high school students, under the guidance of CCA, to tell the canal story.
  • I&M Canal Passage Wayfinding System, an integrated sign system of interpretive panels, kiosks, mile markers and life-size Cor-Ten steel silhouettes of canal pioneers, directing visitors to attractions and weaving a common thread between them and early corridor travelers.