Fel-Pro RRR is a example of protecting natural areas habitat while providing diverse outdoor recreational opportunities. Unlike any other site the Conservation District owns, Fel-Pro RRR in Cary offers visitors activities more commonly associated with park districts. Typical activities on a Conservation District site are more passive in nature like hiking, fishing and picnicking. At Fel-Pro RR, a visitor can enjoy all those, plus a sand volleyball court, basketball court, ball diamond, horseshoes and a newly updated 9-hole frisbee golf course. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s playground!
A visitor looking for the wilder side will get lost in the beauty of the site which includes a gravel hill prairie, savanna, sedge meadow, fen, and several spring-fed lakes. Wetlands spread out from a small stream that meanders through the park. A nature trails lures a visitor through an oak savanna where columbine and bottlebrush grass have reestablished, over steep glacial hills to a rare dry hill prairie filled with dropseed, little bluestem and birdsfoot violet, then to a high-quality graminoid fen where goldenrod, swamp thistle, angelica, and fringed gentian flourish. Then over to the wood bridges to a large pond, connected to a smaller pond to cast a line or two for the largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, or warmouth that lurk in the waters below.
Visitors who appreciate the cooler temperatures of autumn and enjoy the late afternoon breezes will gather a few friends for some 3 on 3 basketball, challenge the neighbors to a game of horseshoes (bring your own shoes), and encourage some pals for some high-flying action on the frisbee course. The one mile paved shaded trail that leads to most of the recreational amenities is perfect for strollers and wheelchairs.
RRR: Rest, Relaxation and Recreation The Fel-Pro Company, an auto parts manufacturer bought the 220 acres of open land in 1983. The company’s vision was to enrich the lives of their 2,800 employees and their families by providing a nature preserve, onsite recreation, and a children’s summer camp. Fel-Pro earned the Forbes Magazine’s honor as the fourth best American employer in 1998.
When Fel-Pro was sold in 1998, the eight family owners decided the camp-tract should remain as a legacy for everyone. They initiated a collaborative venture with The Nature Conservancy, Metropolitan Family Services, and McHenry County Conservation District as the primary landowner.
The Nature Conservancy managed the 130-acre portion up until 2005 which included a gravel hill prairie, savanna, sedge meadow, fen, and several spring-fed lakes. Metropolitan Family Services, and later the YMCA of McHenry County leased and operated a summer camp in the 90-acre recreational area up until 2010.