iBi - May 2011

Welcome Back

by D. Baratta

Since The Nature Conservancy began restoring the Emiquon Preserve from farmland to functioning floodplain in 2007, many natives have returned. Historic backwater lakes and wetlands. Aquatic plants. Fish. Waterfowl, by the tens of thousands. And, beginning June 4th, new visitor facilities are expected to attract scores of people, too.

The Greatest Welcome Mat

Just as important as the activities, amenities and destinations are the little things that make up the visitor experience. A friendly face that stops for a moment to give directions or recommend a good restaurant can make all the difference.

A Recreational Giant Sets Up Shop

by Kaylyn Kuzniar

Since its inception, Bass Pro Shops has transformed the market for hunting, fishing and recreational needs. City officials in East Peoria believe that the venerable retailer’s new location just north of the Murray Baker Bridge will bring millions of visitors to the area for years to come.

A Stage to the World

by Jonathan Wright

On October 20, 2012, one of the largest developments in Peoria’s history will come to life when the Peoria Riverfront Museum opens its doors to the public for the first time.

Riding the Rock Island Trail…and More

by Ken Kiley
Friends of the Rock Island Trail

The conversion of the Kellar Branch rail corridor to a recreational trail provides the missing link in a trail system that stretches from Toulon to Bloomington-Normal—and beyond.

Illinois River Road Means Business

by Anaise Berry
Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway

The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway exemplifies the growing trend of experiential tourism.

Peoria Plays With a Full House

by Sami Qureshi
Heart of Illinois Hospitality Association

With the second-highest hotel occupancy rate in the state last year, the Peoria-area hospitality and tourism industry continues to grow.

Canton Reinventing Itself as a Tourism Destination

by Dana Smith
Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development

Surrounded by a wealth of natural beauty and numerous attractions, the potential to broaden Canton’s revenue base through tourism has become a new focus.

Kenny Carrigan: Meet Your Tour Guide

by Jonathan Wright

A delightfully young man of 76 years, Carrigan is a guide for the Peoria Historical Society’s trolley tours—and one of the area’s most colorful individuals.


Feeding the Hungry in the Heart of Illinois

by Kaylyn Kuzniar

Nearly 60 tons of edible food goes to the landfill each day, says Heart of Illinois Harvest co-founder Bill Lervaag. “We try to pick up as much as we can.”