The Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor is a 100 mile long cultural park between Chicago and LaSalle/Peru. It is a geographic area of about 322,000 acres within the counties of Cook, DuPage, Will, Grundy and LaSalle. On August 24, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation establishing the region as the nation's first National Heritage Corridor. It thereby recognized the historic importance of this region and the waterway that connected Lake Michigan and the Illinois River. The goal of the Corridor is to preserve, protect and interpret its rich natural and cultural history while fostering economic growth in the region. The Corridor is not owned or governed by a single authority. Its creation involved the partnership of federal, state, and local governments in cooperation with private industry and interest groups. The corridor is an on-going partnership between the public and private sectors created to achieve a successful mixture of preservation, public use and industrial activity.