Above / Members of the Elmhurst Bicycle Club, Spin Doctor Cyclewerks, the Illinois Prairie Path nonprofit corporation and the Elmhurst Police Department, along with individual bikers and County employees celebrated Bike to Work Week. The group rode from Elmhurst to Wheaton, and stopped in Glen Ellyn to dedicate a bridge in memory of Paul and Jean Mooring. (Photo courtesy DuPage County Board)

Wheaton – DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin presented a proclamation at the June 13 DuPage County Board meeting honoring a couple devoted to the creation and preservation of the Illinois Prairie Path.

DuPage County employees celebrated Bike to Work Week by riding from Elmhurst to the County complex in Wheaton. Along the way, riders stopped at the bridge over the East Branch DuPage River between Interstate 355 and Hill Avenue to celebrate Paul and Jean Mooring, who were charter members of the Illinois Prairie Path nonprofit corporation.

“Without the hard work and dedication of volunteers like Paul and Jean Mooring, the Illinois Prairie Path might not even exist. Thanks to their efforts, tens of thousands of walkers, runners and riders enjoy DuPage’s beautiful trail system,” Cronin said. “We honor the Moorings’ important work and celebrate their meaningful legacy, which benefits our entire region.”

The Moorings helped to build and maintain the trail since its inception in the late 1960s. Paul Mooring spent 21 years as president of the Prairie Path Corporation. He passed away in 2016.  His wife, Jean, died in 2013.

The dedication ceremony coincided with Bike to Work Week, during which Chairman Dan Cronin, County Board members, county employees and several community bicycle enthusiasts rode their bikes to work to promote a healthy lifestyle and clean environment.

Members of the Elmhurst Bicycle Club, Spin Doctor Cyclewerks, the Illinois Prairie Path not-for-profit corporation and the Elmhurst Police Department, along with individual bikers and County employees, rode from Elmhurst to the DuPage County Government Complex in Wheaton. They were joined members of bicycle groups and environmental organizations.

DuPage County has 500 miles of bikeways and trails suitable for bicycle travel. The county website features software that allows bicyclists to map the safest route between two destinations with point-by-point directions.

Go Bike software and other electronic mapping resources can be accessed at www.dupageco.org/bikeways/.

Submitted by Evan Shields, Public Information Officer, for the DuPage County Board.


Editor’s Note / With 487 words, then-Naperville resident May Theilgaard Watts changed history. Her letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune, published in September 1963, proposed a public footpath.

“We are human beings,” wrote Watts. “We are able to walk upright on two feet. We need a footpath. Right now there is a chance for Chicago and its suburbs to have a footpath, a long one. The right-of-way of the Aurora electric road lies waiting. If we have courage and foresight, such as made possible the Long Trail in Vermont and the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia, and the network of public footpaths in Britain, then we can create from this strip a proud resource.”

Her letter inspired grassroots public support from folks such as Jean and Paul Mooring, and within months, the nonprofit Illinois Prairie Path (IPP) corporation was formed. By 1967, the first trail signs had been posted— and the rest is history and a natural wonder.

No doubt the unwavering dedication of the Moorings crossed paths with May Theilgaard Watts back in the late 1960s and throughout the growth of the IPP.

RELATED PN POSTS / Use the PN search tool for “May Watts.”


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