Restoring Rocky Glen

By Alyssa Donovan

January 20, 2013 Updated Jan 21, 2013 at 11:00 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill.— A local organization is taking action to restore a place of the past.

What was once a place to hike and meet with friends has now become a forgotten memory.

Rocky Glen, off Kickapoo Creek road in Peoria, has been privately owned for years.The city recently purchased a portion of the land, and now the organization Friends of Rocky Glen is trying to restore the historic area for all to see.

Friends of Rocky Glen President David Pittman said, "The spot were standing in is a single box canyon that's about 200 million years old. It's not as old as starved Rock, but it looks a lot like it."

And the canyon, named "the bowl,” holds more than just sandstone inside of its 70 foot walls.

"They're covered with carvings," said Pittman. "The oldest carvings I have found were from the 1880s. The newest are some of the spray paint you see around us."

Still, Pittman says Rocky Glen is full of rich treasures, like the native plant community, which also needs the most help.

Volunteers are working on clearing the area of exotic plants and trees. The next step will be reseeding the land with native plants.

Pittman says the entire process can take up to 20 years but it needs to be done. Crews can only use simple hand saws and tools, since the landscape is too challenging to hike with a heavy load.

"It's pretty tough," admitted Volunteer Troy Davis. "I've done a lot of this before and if you are doing any work with a hand saw; it's a lot of work."

Pittman says it's worth the work. When asked why the land should be restored, his answer was simple.

"Sister, that's a hard one to answer if you can't already see," said Pittman.

Friends of Rocky Glen has monthly hikes through the area and you can find more information on their website, www.friendsofrockyglen.org.

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