LA SALLE — "Illinois Trail Marker Trees: Past & Present,” a dinner lecture featuring speaker Dennis Downes, will be presented from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at Lock 16 Visitor Center, 754 First St.
The trail marker trees as well as marker trees in general were part of an extensive land and water navigation system already in place long before the arrival of the first European settlers.
While Indians had a widespread trail system in place, trail marker trees served as exit signs off land and water routes, bringing them to areas of specific interest and then directing them back to the main route, much like the exit signs off major interstates today.
Before the concept of drainage ditches and canals to relieve flooding, much of the country was flooded for long periods. In the spring and summer paths near rivers and creeks would not be visible when water overflowed the banks. Trail trees high on the banks still could be spotted, telling the travelers where to exit waterways to reach their destinations.
Guests can enjoy a buffet dinner of caprese stuffed balsamic chicken on a bed of pasta, meatloaf with mashed potatoes, green bean almondine, garden salad and carrot cake. Cocktails will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the lecture at 7 p.m.
Lecture-only tickets will cost $8. Dinner and lecture admission will be $24 for members and $29 for nonmembers. Reservations are required, and can be made by calling 815-220-1848, ext. 1838.