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Wooded Island's Locked Gates Open Saturday for Tour of $8M Restoration

By Sam Cholke | December 17, 2015 5:53am

Wooded Island was cleared of many of its trees last winter and a Saturday tour gives a chance to see what's been planted since. [DNAinfo/Sam Cholke]

HYDE PARK — There will be a chance Saturday to get past the locked gates to Wooded Island in Jackson Park for a free tour.

There is a lot happening at Wooded Island, from the massive habitat restoration of the Army Corps of Engineers to preparations for Yoko Ono’s first American art installation.

The Chicago Park District’s project director, Lauren Umec, will lead a tour through all the projects at 10 a.m. Saturday starting at the southern bridge to the island off Hayes Drive just east of Cornell Avenue.

Much of the major work of the Army Corps is done and the lagoon refilled, where workers found axes, knives and even a car during the early phases of the $8.1 million restoration.

The project could keep the island closed for up to five years and these occasional tours are the only way to watch for some of the South Side’s wildest creatures that have called Wooded Island home in the past, including beavers, deer and a plethora of birds and insects.

Wooded Island Steward Jerry Levy of the Jackson Park Advisory Council is also expected to help lead the tour.

The Wooded Island as it appeared in during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. [The World’s Columbian Exposition: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, the White City Artfolio]

Wooded Island is home to many unique South Side animals like deer and beavers. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]

A temporary construction bridge, right, is built next to a pedestrian bridge at Jackson Park, where the lagoon was just cleaned. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]

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