Features - 44
The quiet, serene Sugar River. (David C. Olson photo)
The Life-Sustaining Sugar River

Several factors combine to make the Sugar River an extraordinary sustainer of life to a staggering variety of creatures – including many weary migratory visitors. Learn what makes this river special, what threatens it, and who’s protecting it.

Stronghold Castle, lit up at sunset.
Stronghold Castle: An Orphan’s Tribute to Family

In 1929, Chicago newspaper magnate Walter Strong built a castle that inspired the imagination of his family for the next 30-plus years. Today, it remains a bastion of renewal and personal growth that’s enjoyed by more than 12,000 people annually.

A view of the Kishwaukee River. (David C. Olson photo)
Our Kishwaukee River: A Lovely, Vulnerable Gem

Long recognized as a sanctuary for diverse plant and animal species, the Kishwaukee is one of the highest-quality rivers in Illinois. Learn how the ‘Kish’ is vulnerable to encroaching development and how we can protect it.

A Civil War re-enactor visits a cemetery.
The Civil War: When They Marched to the Sound of the Guns

No battles were fought on Illinois or Wisconsin soil during the bloody Civil War, but many thousands of families in our region lost loved ones. Jon McGinty traces the journey of local soldiers on the sesquicentennial anniversary of our nation’s bloodiest war.

A couple boating on the Rock River, near the Rockford YMCA. (Karla Nagy photo)
Going With the Flow: Fishing, Boating and Playing on the Rock River

For generations, the Rock River has provided much to those who settled along its banks. Not only is it a place for commerce, but it’s ideal for recreation. Discover the many opportunities for boating, skiing, fishing and more.