National park effort moves further

An idea that originated more than two years ago to help protect the levee system around Prairie du Rocher continues to progress. 

Having secured three letters of intent for properties in the French Colonial Historic District of Randolph County, the steering committee of the Community Foundation of Prairie du Rocher recently asked Congressman Mike Bost to help make the district a national park. A minimum of three properties within a proposed area is required by the National Park Service (NPS). If the district becomes a national park, the NPS takes guardianship of the properties, manages and protects them in perpetuity. 

The next step is to have a reconnaissance survey completed for the district. The steering committee requested Bost to confer with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and ask Bernhardt to solicit a reconnaissance survey by the National Park Service. A positive survey outcome is necessary for the French Colonial Historic District to become a national park. Bost wrote a letter to Bernhardt.

In a conference call late last week, Bost conveyed to steering committee members Ed Weilbacher and Chris Martin that the study is confirmed. Weilbacher is the general manager of the Kaskaskia Regional Port District. Martin is the coordinator of economic development for Randolph County and also president of the Community Foundation. 

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