From 2007–2011, recreational improvements have been made on numerous sites with the approved bond funds. Of the $8.5 million set aside for Recreational Improvements $6.3 million has been expended and $2.3 million remain unexpended. This includes an additional $250,000 of investment income that has been designated for future site & trail improvements. In addition, having bond referendum funds available allowed the District to seek grants that require matching dollars. Over $631,000 in matching grants were received for site and trail improvements, thus stretching the use of the monies, allowing the District to accomplish more.
Site improvements add numerous hiking/nature trails, picnic shelters, bike trails, ADA accessible trails and facilities, fishing access, fire rings, scenic outlooks, fishing piers, restrooms, and parking lots. Thus far the District has opened nine new sites to the public and 3.5 miles of regional trails. These sites include: Boger Bog, Bull Valley; North Branch, Richmond; Kishwaukee Corridor County Line Road Access, Marengo; An improved Nippersink Canoe Base, Spring Grove; Kishwaukee Headwaters, Woodstock; the H.U.M. Trailhead, Marengo; Lake in the Hills Fen Conservation Area, LITH; High Point, Harvard; and Winding Creek, Hebron.
In addition two regional trails, the Stone Mill Trail (Harvard to Chemung) and Phase I of Ridgefield Trace (Woodstock to Crystal Lake) were added. Phase II of Ridgefield Trace will open late this year.
Thank you to those who participated in the Preliminary Phase of the Fox Bluff Conservation Area Master Plan. At this time the viewing-comment period has come to a close. All comments received have been recorded and will be utilized to help formulate a Final Plan. The Final Plan will be proposed to the District’s Board of Trustees at their June 20, 2013 meeting.
Under Construction—Coming Soon!
Boone Creek Conservation Area, Bull Valley
Constuction Begins June 2012; Anticipated Opening June 2013
The Boone Creek Conservation Area, is a 633 acre site located between Rt. 120, Bull Valley Rd., and Cold Springs Rd. in Bull Valley. The site helps to protect the valuable natural resources of Boone Creek and its headwater stream system. The new site plan offers an array of recreational opportunities including hiking, picnicking, birding, and horseback riding. The property was purchased in part by an IDNR Open Lands Trust Grant Program.
Dufield Pond Conservation Area, Woodstock
Anticipated Opening of McConnell Road Improvements July 2013
Dufield Pond Conservation Area is located between Country Club Rd. and McConnell Rd., in Woodstock. The site plan allows for continued access and recreation opportunities off Country Club Road. Site improvements off of Country Club Rd. include an elevated fishing boardwalk, restroom facilities. ADA access and paved parking lot are on hold until funding is available. The plan also allows for new access to the southern half of the site. A new parking lot off of McConnell Rd. with amenities will allow users an opportunity to experience the site from a completely different perspective. VIEW MAP
Stickney Run, 3216 West State Park Road, McHenry (633 acres)
In 2012, the District will implement a portion of the Master Plan which will include the first phase of the multiuse trail in the southern most portion of the site. The District will monitor and identify the location of significant natural resources and permitting challenges for future trail expansion.
Ridgefield Trace Phase III—Crystal Lake to Woodstock regional trail
This section of the trail will run from McHenry County College on Route 14 to Lakeshore Drive in Woodstock and is funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration's Complete-The-Streets Program. This section is being constructed by IDOT along with the Route 14 road improvements. The project is expected to begin construction in late Fall 2012.
Recently Approved Master Plans, not yet constructed
Harrison Benwell Conservation Area, Wonder Lake
A 74.67 acre site, Harrison Benwell was one of the very first parcels to be purchased by the Conservation District in 1973. This Restored Oak/Hickory Savanna and wetland complex has been open to the public. The updated Master Plan provides a balance of outdoor recreational opportunities which are compatible to the sensitive resources both natural and cultural on the site: picnicking, hiking trail system, community and local trail connections, nature interpretation and wildlife observation.
The map of the site displays an improved main entrance and parking area with new ADA accessible restroom and drinking fountain. An improved trailhead will include: Kiosk, Benches, and Pet-Waste Station. A new/replaced picnic shelter with Fire-pit, as well as several picnic area are planned. The hiking trails were modified slightly to move trails out of sensitive areas, going from 1.7 miles of trails to 1.58 miles of mowed grass surfaces. Trails will also have connection points with Harrison School D-36 and the planned Thatcher Meadows subdivision.
in North Branch Conservation Area, Richmond
The McConnell Farmstead is located in the southernmost portion of North Branch Conservation Area in Richmond, south of Route 173 along Broadway. Improvements have begun and developments will be phased in as funds become available. To view a map of the project, click here.
Newly Opened Sites
Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park
Opened August 14, 2010
The Lost Valley Visitor Center located in Glacial Park offers exhibits, drop-in library, environmental education classrooms, conference center, office space and multipurpose rooms. The renovated facility incorporates many energy-efficient and renewable-energy technologies. Building a Green Future
Lake in the Hills Fen Conservation Area,
Lake in the Hills
Opened April 16, 2011
Lake in the Hills Fen Conservation Area is a 198-acre parcel located east of Randall Road, south of Lake in the Hills Airport, and directly west of Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve. Site improvements to this high-quality natural area include looped nature trails for hiking and cross country skiing, as well as an ADA paved trail, picnic shelter, and interpretive signage. The land was purchased with grant funds from the State of Illinois to protect Crystal Creek and surrounding wetlands, as well as to give the public an opportunity to connect with the natural world at this unique site.
High Point Conservation Area, Harvard
Opened May 7, 2011
High Point Conservation Area is a 253-acre site located between Reese Road and Wright Road in Alden Township. Notably, High Point contains the highest glaciated point above sea level in McHenry County. Improvements to the site include a 1 mile looped nature trail that will provide hikers with scenic views and wildlife observation, as well as interpretive and educational opportunities. Parking lot, restrooms, picnic tables, and drinking water are also planned. The entrance to the site will be off of Reese Road.
Winding Creek Conservation Area, Hebron
Opened June 4, 2011
Winding Creek Conservation Area is a 359-acre site located adjacent to the intersection of Johnson Road and O'Brien Road near Hebron. The western portion is woodland and a stretch of the Nippersink Creek runs through the sire. Improvements include 3.4 miles of looped trails with boardwalks through the wetlands, ideal for hiking and cross country skiing, as well as a second .7 mile nature trail. Fishing opportunities will also be available. Parking lot, restrooms, picnic tables, a shelter and drinking water are planned. The entrance to the site will be off Johnson Road.
FEL PRO RRR West Side Entrance, 1900 Crystal Lake Rd., Cary
New and improved amenities include a .35 mile ADA accessible paved, looped trail, outcrop stone seating, a small picnic shelter, restroom and parking lot. The trail will link to the site's 2.5+ nature trail system. Two nature play features are being added along the trail which include a stone abascus and rain maker.