Kankakee River bubbles up from a place in the center of northern Indiana and widens as it flows into Illinois. At one time it created one of the largest swamps and wetlands in North America; a wetland that rivaled the Florida Everglades. The swamp was drained in an effort to bring progress to the region and create more farmland.
Northwest Indiana was the last bit of Indiana to be wrestled from the Native Americans because of the Kankakee. Kankakee is a Native American word meaning wolf river; reminiscent of a time when there were actually wolves in Indiana.
There is abundant historical documentation of the extent of wildlife that thrived off of the Kankakee. Huge flocks of birds and big game flourished in the wetland. Rascally human characters moved in and trapped beaver and muskrat for a flourishing trade. The summers were hot and clouds of mosquitoes swarmed the waters.
On a warm spring evening you can still find areas where a muskrat swims by with a branch of green; a deer stops to drink; as a fish takes your bait....life is still good on the Kankakee.