Category: News Releases

Scenic Overlook Opening

The scenic overlook at Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville opens on weekends starting May 6. See a soaring hawk, launch a model glider and see the Chicago skyline from 190 feet above the ground.

The overlook will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Oct. 29, weather permitting, although Environmental Protection Agency activities may cause it to close without notice. The access drive is off Greene Road south of 79th Street. Visitors can park at the summit, where District staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide binoculars and a spotting scope for views of far-off vistas and migrating birds.

Visitors with valid District permits can launch nonpowered crafts from the top; permits are available online or through Visitor Services at 630-933-7248 weekdays 8a.m.‒4p.m. For a more “down-to-earth” exploration, hikers and bikers can use the 1.9-mile Hawk Trail, which circles the hill’s base.

The overlook rests on top of a closed landfill, which operated from 1974 to 1996. A gas-to-energy plant converts methane the landfill produces into energy, which powers thousands of area homes. Revenue from the landfill’s former disposal operations and the gas-to-energy plant — not tax dollars — funded construction of the recreational improvements and continue to fund the maintenance of the overlook.

Free Boat Safety Checks

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will provide free boat safety inspections on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Silver Lake boat launch at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

Certified, uniformed members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 37-25 will conduct the checks and provide boaters and visitors with information on safety, environmental responsibility, vessel operation and the work of the auxiliary. Boat owners who pass inspections will receive safety-check decals to attach to their vessels.

The all-volunteer auxiliary has volunteers has been providing free inspections and information on state and federal boating laws since 1947. Its members assist the U.S. Coast Guard with safety patrols, inspections, boat-safety classes and search-and-rescue efforts.

“This is the perfect opportunity to have your boat inspected and make sure it’s in proper working order at the start of the boating season,” said Forest Preserve District of DuPage County President Joe Cantore.

“Make safety a priority as you head out on the water by learning all you can about boat safety,” said Forest Preserve District Commissioner Al Murphy, District 6.

Trout Season Opens

Trout season opens today, April 1st at three Forest Preserve District of DuPage County lakes: Grove Lake at Wood Dale Grove in Wood Dale, Silver Lake at Blackwell in Warrenville and Pickerel Lake at Pratt’s Wayne Woods in Wayne.

In preparation the District has stocked Pickerel Lake with approximately 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout and Grove Lake with 1,000 pounds. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources provided Silver Lake with roughly 3,200 fish.

The creel limit for rainbow trout is five per day with no length restriction, and all anglers 16 and older who are not legally disabled must carry valid Illinois fishing licenses with inland trout stamps. Forest Preserve District permits and either Illinois water usage stamps or state registrations are required.

District permits are $7 per day or $35 per year for DuPage residents and $9 per day or $45 per year for nonresidents. Daily permits are available at the boat-rental area or at the steel lock box near the launch. Annual permits can be purchased online, at the Blackwell rental area, or through Visitor Services, where walk-ins can also purchase water usage stamps.

DuPage River Improvement

The Forest Preserve District is moving forward with plans to improve the West Branch DuPage River through four forest preserves to create an ecologically healthy and more contiguous river corridor.

Dubbed the West Branch DuPage River Corridor Habitat Improvement Project, plans call for creating a more contiguous habitat along the river through West DuPage Woods, Blackwell, Warrenville Grove and McDowell Grove forest preserves in the communities of West Chicago, Warrenville and Naperville.The project will build upon previous enhancements vital for floodwater storage and conveyance, water filtration and ecological habitat.

This work is part of a larger initiative within the West Branch DuPage River watershed that includes the Klein Fen river restoration and wetland mitigation project at West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett, an upcoming river restoration project at Mallard Lake Forest Preserve in Hanover Park, and the restoration of Spring Brook Creek, a tributary that flows through St. James Farm and Blackwell forest preserves in Warrenville.

A 2013 intergovernmental agreement between the District and DuPage County allowed several grant-funded stormwater and ecological improvement projects to be completed along the West Branch in Warrenville and McDowell Grove forest preserves.

Presale Orders Begin

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County invites gardeners to get ready to go native by placing presale orders today through April 17 for its 10th annual Native Plant Sale.

This year’s sale will be at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 West 31st Street in Oak Brook on Friday, May 12 from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. and Saturday, May 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Gardeners who place presale orders can pick them up at the public sale May 12 and 13, or they can do all of their shopping at the sale at Mayslake, where they’ll also be able to get advice from Forest Preserve District experts. New for 2017, they can also pick up orders May 12, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago Plants will not be available for sale outside of the presale orders at Kline Creek Farm.

The Native Plant Sale catalog, which includes photos, descriptions and prices are available here. Gardeners can pay for presale and same-day orders with cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. All proceeds will support educational programming at the District.

Most plants at this year’s sale originate from seed collected within 100 miles of DuPage County and are not treated with insecticides containing neonicotinoids, which are harmful to bees and other insect pollinators. Gardeners who landscape with native plants help wildlife by providing additional habitat for them.

New Trail Coming Soon

A new 1-mile trail for hikers, bikers and horseback riders is being built through McCormick Woods on the north side of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

The trail will connect a recently installed pedestrian bridge over Spring Brook Creek to an existing 2-mile looped trail, which circles around the equestrian facilities at St. James Farm and connects to the Illinois Prairie Path.

The Forest Preserve District has already started to prepare the proposed trail corridor. By working during the dormant winter months, crews are able to lessen the effects heavy equipment may have on native vegetation. The Spring Brook Creek bridge was built in 2015 as part of the ecological restoration of 2.3 miles of the floodplain that runs through St. James Farm.

Both the bridge and trail are part of a multiphase development plan which includes bringing sewer and water lines to the east side of St. James Farm via Wiesbrook Road along Hoy Avenue by spring 2018. Other plans call for improvements to the indoor riding arena to accommodate public use, programs and equestrian events.