Recreation & Public Safety

Safety-minded volunteers bike, hike and ski along Conservation Area Trails and the 26-mile Prairie Trail to provide assistance and information to visitors. They also report dangerous conditions or suspicious behavior that they observe to the District Police Department.

For more information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 815.338.6223  or


The mission of the Safety Watch Education & Environmental Program (S.W.E.E.P.) is to ensure that site users have a safe, enjoyable experience. Sponsored by the District Police Department, S.W.E.E.P. combines hiking or biking with passive crime deterrence and public safety education. This volunteer program focuses on public safety and encourages regular conservation site and trail users and neighbors to keep watch over a site and alert law enforcement officials to suspicious activities and other unsafe conditions they observe. In addition, safety watchers provide information and first aid assistance to visitors.

At monthly meetings S.W.E.E.P. volunteers receive training in personal observation skills and techniques that teach a heightened sense of awareness of surroundings. While volunteers have no enforcement authority, their presence acts as extra eyes and ears for the District Police Department and is a proactive deterrent to criminal activity.

All site users, not just S.W.E.E.P. volunteers, are encouraged to report suspicious activity by calling 815. 338.6223. If no answer, call 815. 338.2144. These phone numbers are also posted on S.W.E.E.P. signs located at the entrances to District Sites.

QUALIFICATIONS: Minimum age 21; a registered volunteer of the District; physically capable of carrying out the duties of the position.
TRAINING: Public safety-related topics are presented at monthly meetings.
TIME COMMITMENT/SCHEDULE: Flexible schedule, no minimum time commitment.

S.W.E.E.P. by bike along the Prairie Trail

From April until the weather becomes unfavorable for biking, SWEEP bike volunteers tour the Prairie Trail in pairs to provide general assistance to trail users.  Volunteers alerts the Conservation District Police to unsafe conditions, property damage or suspicious activity. Volunteers are trained in CPR/First Aid by the District and attend monthly evening meetings to learn about safety topics, defensive strategies, radio procedures and basic bike maintenance. In addition to touring, members also provide assistance at the Pedal Paddle Saddle special event in June and the National Night Out event in August.  In addition volunteers run the annual Safe Kids Wear Lids program, which promotes bike safety and responsibility to young riders.

CPR/First Aid certification is provided by the District in late winter. Volunteers must supply their own helmet, but other equipment and training are provided. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator to become part of the team.

QUALIFICATIONS: Minimum age 21; a registered District volunteer; physically capable of carrying out their duties; must possess ability to interact with the public and other volunteers; responsible and reliable. Able to follow directions and procedures.
EXPERIENCE: Training is provided. Must possess enthusiasm for safety and biking.
TIME COMMITMENT/SCHEDULE: Minimum of 10 touring hours from April through September. Attend an orientation training session with Police liaison and at least one monthly meeting. The schedule is flexible and determined by touring partners.
LOCATION: Tour segments of the Prairie Trail. Attend monthly meetings.

Glacial Park Ski Patrol

Each winter when snow conditions are right, the Glacial Park Ski Patrol (GPSP) takes to the ski trails to help provide a safe and enjoyable experience for trail users. GPSP volunteers receive special extensive training in ski techniques, outdoor emergency care and winter rescue protocols from the National Ski Patrol (NSP). For more information on the NSP, go to

QUALIFICATIONS: Minimum age 21; a registered volunteer of the District; physically capable of carrying out the duties of the position. Must be a member of the National Ski Patrol with completed training and certification in Nordic Ski Patrol.
TIME COMMITMENT/SCHEDULE: Generally, one weekend day per week from January – March when snow conditions are favorable for Nordic skiing.