Thousands of people flock to the Great Lakes every year to enjoy the freshwater beaches along the coast. As an urban hub with over 2.5 million residents, beachfronts in Chicago have regular visitors as well as tourists that recreate in the bordering Lake Michigan.
According to the Chicago Park District, it is estimated that more than 100,000 residents and visitors per day use Chicago’s Lakefront trail during summer weekends.
Proximity to the Lake is not only a recreational activity for Chicagoans, but also a part of the city’s history due to its role in domestic and international shipping routes. In addition, the Lake serves as a drinking water source and as an essential climate regulator in the region that acts as a natural air conditioning affect.
Monitoring of the beaches ensures that the water is safe for recreating, ensuring that one of the Lake’s many services is protected. The Chicago Park District (Park District) is tasked with monitoring the beaches to ensure water quality meets EPA standards and that the public can safely enjoy Chicago’s beaches.
Maggie Warren took over as the water quality project manager for the Park District within the past year and was excited for her first beach season this summer. She explains, “It’s rewarding to be able to work to provide this resource to Chicago’s residents, and I get to enjoy it myself.”
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