Friday, August 22, 2014

State to Re-Open Fort Defiance at Confluence

I had to do a double-take reading today's Fort Defiance headline in the Southern Illinoisan. I read Fort Massac in place of Fort Defiance, and thought the state of Illinois was finally going to rebuild the fort which is currently condemned. Instead, they're focusing on the site of the Civil War fort at Cairo.

Technically, the site of the fort is more still inside Cairo rather than the actual confluence of Ohio and Mississippi Rivers as the confluence has moved downstream in the last century and a half. As an example of the constant changing nature of the rivers the old boat ramp sits underneath six and eight feet of silt.

Joey Thurston, site superintendent at nearby Horseshoe Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, added Fort Defiance to his portfolio July 1 at the start of the state's new fiscal year. The incredibly impoverished, yet rich in history, city of Cairo had operated the site barely since the 1980s, not the 90s, as the article notes.

The site has some issues as Thurston outlines, but I've got to say it's been a long time since I've seen an IDNR employee sounding gun-ho at fixing issues and restoring a site to public use.

By the way, if you go visit the park, don't forget to take a ride in Cairo's subway. It's still there.

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