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WSIU to Host Trail of Tears Bus Tour

Contact:  Vickie Devenport, SIRIS Director and WSIU Outreach Coordinator,
(618) 453-6148, vickie.devenport@wsiu.org

Carbondale, IL - Reporters, camera crews, and photographers are invited to cover all or a portion of the Trail of Tears one-day bus tour this Saturday, October 17 from 9am to 5pm. The tour is sponsored by WSIU Public Broadcasting, the public media arm of Southern Illinois University Carbondale; the Shawnee National Forest; and the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association. This event is one of two community engagement activities that raise awareness of the National Historic Trail of Tears, the path taken by the Cherokee during their forced migration west in the 1830s.

The bus will depart from the Arena Parking lot at Southern Illinois University Carbondale at 9am and return to the lot by 5pm. The tour begins on the western side of the Trail of Tears route in southern Illinois and ends at the Trail of Tears State Park in Jackson, Missouri. Board members and docents from the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association will provide interpretation of the sites that are visited, including the Camp Ground Church Cemetery in Union County and the final encampment in Union County near Jonesboro.

Lunch will be provided for participants at the Trail of Tears Lodge in Jonesboro, Illinois. Media are welcomed to meet participants around 11:30am at the Lodge, which is located at 1575 Fair City Road in Jonesboro. 

Following lunch, the buses will continue to the Trail of Tears State Park in Jackson, Missouri for a guided tour of the visitors' center and the grounds overlooking the location where the detachments crossed the Mississippi River. Media can arrange to meet participants and interpreters at the visitors' center of the Trail of Tears State Park at approximately 1:30pm. The park is located at 429 Moccasin Springs Road in Jackson.

The Trail of Tears bus tour is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in association with the release of the Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

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