ITS Trail now on Facebook !
Written by Rande Johnson   
Friday, 25 March 2011

The ITS Trail Committee is now on Facebook! 

Click here to go to the ITS Trail Committee page to see the latest news and event information.

Last Updated ( Friday, 25 March 2011 )
Welcome to the ITS Trail!
Written by Webmaster   
Saturday, 12 June 2004

Click here for the larger map

The ITS Trail, when complete, will be an integral part of one of Illinois’ longest continuous rails-to-trails projects, which will wander some 95 miles through the countryside of Madison, Macoupin, and Sangamon counties and will connect St. Louis, MO. with our state capital, Springfield. From the St. Louis Arch, the trail will travel north via the McKinley Bridge over the Mississippi River, and through the municipalities of Venice, Madison, Granite City, Pontoon Beach, Collinsville, Maryville, Glen Carbon, Edwardsville, Hamel, Worden, Staunton, Sawyerville, Benld, Gillespie, Carlinville, Girard, Virden, Auburn, Chatham and Springfield. Seen along the way are beautiful lakes, wetlands, streams, forest, farmland, and a horizon filled with bluffs, prairies and wildlife. 

The ITS Trail will be a family oriented pathway that provides a safe, wheelchair accessible, asphalt paved, non-motorized way to travel, exercise and relax while enjoying the outdoors, including access to motorized wheelchairs for handicapped persons with a physician's certification.  We envision this trail will result in increased tourism and development, benefit government, education, business, and labor, but most of all, could greatly improve the quality of life for those who take advantage of the trail.

We hope you will become involved and support the ITS Trail project through its development and on to its completion, and that you will enjoy its benefits for many years to come.  Become a part of your community and your region, and join with us today.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 October 2008 )
2nd Annual Youth Bicycle Safety Clinic - Aug 28th
Written by Rande Johnson   
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Learning Bicycling Rules of the Road


The ITS Trail Committee will be sponsoring a Bike Safety Clinic (bike checkup, helmet giveaway, safety education, and much more!).  Come to participate in sessions about riding safely on Illinois roads and how and why helmet wearing is important.  Personnel from several community organizations will be on hand to talk to kids about safe bike riding and injury prevention.


Saturday, August 28, 2010.  The activities will start at 10:00 AM and go until 12:00 PM.


The South Water Tower Park in Staunton -- corner of Sixth and Union streets in Staunton, IL


Any child in the 1st through 8th grades in the Southern Macoupin, Northern Madison, and Western Montgomery county areas near Staunton, Illinois.


It will be lots of fun!  Plus the first 100 participants who complete the program will be given a free bike helmet, toothbrush, and other goodies.  Snacks will be provided for the kids during the event.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 15 August 2010 )
5th Annual Tour de Coal Bicycle Ride
Written by Rande Johnson   
Sunday, 15 August 2010

Join the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce on its fifth annual Tour de Coal bicycle ride on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, at the Benld City Hall-Civic Center, 201 E. Central St. in Benld, Ill. (62009).

  • The Tour de Coal is for riders of all ages and abilities who have an interest in cycling in the Macoupin County, Ill., area.
  • The ride will be held in conjunction with the 12th Annual Fall Festival held at the Benld City Park.

Choose from a 13-mile family ride, a mid-length 36-mile ride or a metric century (66 miles).  The terrain is flat to rolling with some hills.

  • Registration is from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Benld City Hall-Civic Center on the day of the event.
  • On the day of the ride, the cost is $20 per person and $50 for family of three or more people living in the same household
  • You can save money by registering in advance either by mail or through Active.com.
  • Advance registration is $15 per person and $40 for a family of three or more people living in the same household.

Visit www.coalcountrychamber.com for online registration and more information. .  You also can download a paper registration form at the website or pick one up at St. Louis, Metro-East, and Springfield, Illinois area bicycle shops.

New in 2010: Out-of-town visitors to the Tour de Coal can camp Friday night (Sept. 24) at Benld City Park, which is just north of the Benld Civic Center. For information about camping, contact Mickey Robinson at (217) 839-4888 or This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

Proceeds from Tour de Coal will be used by the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce to improve the communities of Benld, Dorchester, Eagarville, East Gillespie, Gillespie, Mount Clare, Sawyerville and Wilsonville. The Chamber sponsors events such as a free Summer Concert Series, the Fall Festival and Breakfast with Santa.

The Gillespie/ Benld area has a rich heritage because of its ties to the coal industry.  The region has sizable numbers of people of German, Irish, Italian, Slavic, Scotch and Russian descent drawn to the region by mining.  The region is dotted with more than 27 old coal mines; and the Tour de Coal routes pass several of them.

Benld (pronounced ben-neld) is home to the Coliseum Ballroom, which once played host to musical giants such as Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington the Everly Brothers and Ray Charles.  Benld is also home to The Holy Domitian of the Theotokos Russian Orthodox Church, the only church in Illinois under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia.

Both Gillespie and Benld are on the original alignment (1926-1930) of Route 66 through Illinois.  The 66-mile route uses alignments of Route 66 in the Staunton-Mount Olive area and passes by the grave site of Mary "Mother Jones" Harris, a prominent labor activist in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  The 66-mile route also goes through the community of Bunker Hill, home to one of the ride's rest stops.

Joseph Magnani, a bicycle racer who saw success in big European races in the 1930's and 1940's, grew up in nearby Mount Clare.

For more information about the Tour de Coal, contact Coal Country Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mickey Robinson at (217) 839-4888 or This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

Last Updated ( Sunday, 15 August 2010 )
ITS Trail Committee Supports Development of Rt 66 Trail
Written by Rande Johnson   
Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Blank Resolution of SupportAt the December Board Meeting, the ITS Trail Committee voted their endorsement and support for the development of a "Historical Route 66 Recreational Trail" from Staunton through Mt Olive to Litchfield for the health and welfare of the citizenry.  Below are copies of Letters to the Editor that have been included recently in various local newspapers.  If you would like support this effort, send a printed copy to of the link to the left to the ITS Trail Committee, Inc., 916 N. Easton St, Staunton, IL  62088, or email one to This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it .


Letter to the Editor

Historic Route 66

Recreational Trail


Macoupin and Montgomery Counties in Illinois


I would like to follow up on my initial letter by letting you know that the people are talking about this Trail again and its potential benefits to the region.

The ITS Trail Committee has now endorsed the development of this trail. This group is dedicated to connecting communities with trails.

In this letter, I would like to call to your attention two of many important elements that impact this trail.

First of all, the Trail would complement a diverse outdoor recreational experience, in addition to those who already enjoy hunting, fishing, boating, skiing, or whatever in this area. The Trail would be handicap accessible, encourage walking, jogging, running, rollerblading, bicycling, and cross-country snow skiing in the winter. Most important, it would provide a safe and controlled environment for all users.

Secondly, there is no place, except for the Chain of Rocks Bridge, where a Recreational Trail is part of the actual abandoned Route 66 roadway. We would have the only stretch of 17 miles of dedicated Route 66 Trail in the U.S.A. This would give everyone the opportunity to actually get a feel for what it was like to ride on the “Mother Road” by actually being there.

Although the roadway is still sitting there, abandoned and doing nothing for us now, we are all becoming more aware of the tremendous potential and the unique nature that this Trail will have for us, our communities and region. Most of all, we are talking about it, again.

We always want to remember that our government is, of the people, by the people, and for the people. With the cooperative effort of all parties, this trail will become a reality.

We have a lot of work to do, so let’s keep talking and become involved.

Let’s get it done this time.

John Fritsche


Glen Carbon, IL


Letter to the Editor

Historic Route 66

Recreational Trail

Macoupin and Montgomery Counties


Recently, the League of Illinois Bicyclists had a promotional Route 66 Bike Ride from the Chain of Rocks Bridge, through Edwardsville, Staunton, Carlinville, Springfield, and on to Chicago. The purpose was to promote a safe route from St. Louis to Chicago along the Historic Route 66 Corridor.

For a number of years now, various individuals, organizations, and groups have discussed an Historic Route 66 Trail from Staunton, through Mt.Olive to Litchfield utilizing the Northbound Lane of Old Route 66, which has been abandoned and unused for many years.

Our government officials and medical professionals are all encouraging people to exercise more and this section of pavement could be the place for many citizens to start on a path to better health. Moreover, trails encourage business development that could certainly benefit this region of Illinois.

The roadway belongs to the State of Illinois is still in place, so there is no Right Of Way cost. All that must be done is to remove some guardrail and dirt, repair any defects in the pavement and mark the alignment. This type of work can be done by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The Trail, which would be almost 17 miles long, would benefit the region, each community along the way, as well as new businesses moving into this area.  When this trail segment becomes a reality, a rider could safely travel from Litchfield, IL to the St.Louis Arch by utilizing the Madison County and St Louis trail systems from Staunton south.

Right now this valuable section of what was once the "Mother Road" is abandoned and lying idle, providing no benefit to its owner, the citizens of the State of Illinois.

If you would like to have this section of abandoned history developed into a trail, talk to your family, friends and neighbors.  Let them know how you feel and encourage them to call or write their elected officials for their support.

Please, no more excuses!  Let’s get it done this time!

John Fritsche


             Glen Carbon, IL 


Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 January 2010 )
Rt66 Trail Update - Feb 2010
Written by Rande Johnson   
Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Letter to the Editor

Historic Route 66

Recreational Trail

Macoupin and Montgomery Counties in Illinois

Chapter Three

Let us start out with the Bad News, first!

The Northbound Route 66 roadway, from Staunton, through Mt.Olive, to Litchfield, is still barricaded, abandoned, and an eye sore. It is not contributing to the Health and Welfare of our Community, nor our Region.

Enough of that! Now the Good News!!

We are gathering over whelming support for the Historic Route 66 Recreational Trail that is right in our own back door.

In addition to many individuals, and the ITS Trail Committee, now, the Route 66 Trail - Southern Region Committee has unanimously endorsed the Trail at their January, 2010 meeting. Also at this meeting were Representatives of Tourism and Economic Development Agencies from Springfield, Litchfield, and Southwestern Illinois in Collinsville, Representatives of various City Councils, and School Districts, etc, I am also very grateful for the support of this Trail as demonstrated by Senator Demuzio, who also attended this meeting.

Various City Councils, School Districts, Chambers of Commerce, Community Organizations, Business’ and health Organizations have or are in the process of endorsing this trail. The response of the entire community and Region has been overwhelming in support of this trail.

I want to thank each and every one of you for making all this possible. You have responded from Oklahoma, Missouri, and the Great State of Illinois, from St. Louis to Chicago and points in between. This has truly become a concerted effort, of the people, by the people, and for the people.

We still have a lot of work to do. If you would like to endorse this trail as an individual or as an organization, please send your endorsement and name, via email to the following:

This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it


Also, mark your calendar for Saturday, May 8th, 2010, if you would like to ride your bicycle from Litchfield through Mt.Olive to Staunton on route 66. More details on that later.

To Be Continued


John Fritsche


ITS Website by Bryan Siegfried, M.D.