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Changing Landscapes: A look at the land in Kane County

Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2013 8:42 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Sandy Bressner file photo – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Mike Wolfe of Bartlett cross country skis through LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles.

Kane County boasts about 20,000 acres of forest preserve land, which includes more than 60 parcels of forest preserve areas in the county. Preserves offer space for year-round activities, including hiking, biking, picnicking and leash-free dog walking.

Here is a guide to some Kane County forest preserves and what they offer. To view a slideshow that features photos of local forest preserves and other open spaces, visit www.kcchronicle.com/photos.

Geneva

• Fabyan, 1925 Batavia Ave. in Geneva, has a boat and canoe launch, bike and nature trails, fishing, hiking, historical sites, picnic areas, shelters and winter activities. Features include the Fabyan Villa Museum, the Japanese Garden and the Fabyan Windmill.

• Gunnar Anderson, 719 Batavia Ave. in Geneva, has bike and nature trails, fishing, picnic areas and shelters. The preserve has a shelter, parking area and restroom facility.

St. Charles

• Arthur Anderson, on Route 25 in St. Charles, offers oak savanna, wildflowers, nature trails and hiking and biking trails.

• Brewster Creek, 6N921 Route 25 in St. Charles, is home to the forest preserve district’s Maple Sugaring Festival. The Lodge at Brewster Creek houses meeting rooms, a catering kitchen, outdoor deck and seating for more than 100 people.

• Campton, 41W709 Route 64 in St. Charles, has hiking, horseback riding, picnic areas, shelters, snowmobiling and winter activities.

• Ferson Creek, North Bolcum and Burr roads in St. Charles, has extensive flood plains and wetlands, and is home to a large beaver population.

• Fox River Bluff and Fox River Bluff West, 5N860 Weber Drive in St. Charles, has off-leash dog areas, hiking, fishing and bike and nature trails.

• LeRoy Oakes, 37W370 Dean St. in St. Charles, has hiking, biking and nature trails, fishing, historical sites, nature preserves, horseback riding, picnic areas and shelters. Ferson Creek runs through this preserve.

• Little Woods, in St. Charles Township, was bought as part of the county’s 2011 land acquisition. Amenities will be considered as part of the next master plan process.

• Meissner Prairie-Corron, at Corron and Silver Glen roads in St. Charles, is home to more than 50 species of native plants and a small wetland complex.

• Tekakwitha Woods, 35W076 Villa Maria Road in St. Charles, has biking, hiking and nature trails, fishing, historical sites and picnic areas. The Fox River Trail runs along the eastern boundary of the forest preserve.

Batavia

• Braeburn Marsh, at Fabyan Boulevard and Randall Road in Batavia, has hiking and biking trails, is part of an extensive wetland and drainage system and is a nesting site for sand hill cranes.

• Dick Young, 39W115 Main St. in Batavia, has hiking, horseback riding and nature preserves. It is home to Nelson Lake Marsh, one of the largest natural areas in Kane County.

• Glenwood Park, 1644 S. River St. in Batavia, offers bike and nature trails, fishing, picnic areas, shelters, and snowmobiling and other winter activities. The river has several wooded flood plain islands located below an old broken dam.

• Les Arends, 2S731 Route 31 in Batavia, has hiking, biking and nature trails, fishing, and picnic areas and shelters. The Niageran Dolomite bedrock is along the west side of the Fox River.

• Mill Creek, at Fabyan and Wenmoth roads in Batavia, has hiking, biking and nature trails, and is home to diverse wetland and sedge meadows.

Blackberry Township • Blackberry Maples, a half mile east of Route 47 along Main Street in Blackberry Township, offers hiking, shelters, biking, nature preserves, historical sites and horseback riding.

• Grunwald Farms, at Main Street and Lorang Road in Blackberry Township, offers hiking trails, and plans are in place to transform the area into a small boating and fishing area.

Sugar Grove • Bliss Woods, 5S660 Bliss Road in Sugar Grove, offers biking and hiking trails, nature preserves, picnic areas and shelters, and is home to an extensive grove of sugar maples. It also has an esker – a geological feature formed by a glacier — just east of Bliss Road.

• Culver, 6S496 Hankes Road in Sugar Grove, offers hiking and picnicking opportunities. In addition, wetlands and oak-hickory woodlands grow on this property.

• Hannaford Woods/Nickels Farm, located at Merrill Road near Route 47 in Sugar Grove, has bike and nature trails, hiking, nature preserves and picnic areas. Towering butternut, bur oaks, walnuts, hickories and lindens dwell here.

• Sauer Family Prairie Kame, 44W705 Lasher Road in Sugar Grove, is home to hiking trails and nature preserves. A large glacial form sits on the preserve.

Elburn • Elburn, 45W061 Route 38 in Elburn, is a savanna woodland that offers hiking, historical sites, nature preserves, picnic areas and shelters. It is one of the county’s oldest preserves, and is known as the “squirrel preserve” because fox, gray and flying squirrels live on the grounds.

• Johnson’s Mound, 41W600 Hughes Road in Elburn, is a stratified gravel hill known as “kame,” which was deposited by glacial ice and water about 10,000 years ago. It now is a popular sledding hill.

South Elgin • Jon J. Duerr, 35W003 Route 31 in South Elgin, offers bike and nature trails, a boat and canoe launch, fishing, hiking, historic sites, picnic areas and shelters. A waterfall can be found by heading south on the Riverbend Trail.

• Kenyon Farm, at Barry and Kenyon roads in South Elgin, offers hiking and biking trails.

Kaneville • Lone Grove, at Perry Road near Harter Road in Kaneville, has hiking, nature preserves and picnic areas. The wetland area is covered with flowers from June through September, and butterflies and weasels are among the active animals and insects.

• Underwood Prairie, 2S550 Lorang Road in Kaneville, is part of the Kaneville Esker, the state’s longest esker formed 10,000 to 20,000 years ago.

• For information, visit www.kaneforest.com.

Source: The Kane County Forest Preserve District

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