Free Picnic for 250 Celebrates Brunner Family Forest Preserve Grand Opening
Now that the Kane County Forest Preserve District has completed some of the new amenities at Brunner Family Forest Preserve, they’re planning a huge Grand Opening Celebration, and you’re invited!
The free, family-friendly “Picnic at the Preserve” celebration will start at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, on the 741-acre property at 18N681 Illinois Route 31 in Dundee.
The event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, horse-drawn wagon rides, tours of the on-site organic farm including a chance to see the cows, pigs and chickens, and a concert by family-favorite and local musician Jim Gill. Plus, they’ll have a complimentary lunch for the first 250 guests. Be sure to arrive by 11 a.m. sharp to join in the festivities. You may wish to bring a picnic blanket or bag chairs. All are welcome to come celebrate this long-awaited and newly improved forest preserve.
Forest Preserve Commissioner Maggie Auger, in whose district the preserve is located, said staff and commissioners worked for many years to acquire the property in 2008 and to bring the improvements that will be showcased Saturday.
“I’m honored to be a part of this celebration, which is really decades in the making,” she said. “Saturday is really about celebrating the Brunner Family Forest Preserve, the natural features located there, and all the new amenities this preserve provides.”
- Click HERE to view a flyer on Picnic in the Preserve, the Grand Opening Celebration at Brunner Family Forest Preserve, as well as a map to the property.
Brunner Family Forest Preserve features woodlands and wetlands along a 3.5-mile stretch of the Fox River. Preserve amenities include a picnic shelter, water pump, information kiosk, fishing access, interpretive signs, parking lot, restrooms, and nearly 5 miles of trail to explore across 741 acres. A 12-acre fen restoration is in progress, as is a 20-acre wetland restoration and a 60-acre prairie restoration.
The Forest Preserve District of Kane County was awarded a record-breaking grant to help acquire this unparalleled property. On Nov. 4, 2008, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation awarded the District a $1.46 million Foundation Signature Grant, the largest grant ever received by the District. The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation invests in clean energy development and land preservation efforts to improve environmental quality in Illinois.
Among the programs and projects that the foundation supports are those that preserve and enhance natural areas and wildlife habitats throughout Illinois. Without the assistance of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, this property was slated to be developed into 2,000 townhomes. Now, it’s public open space to be preserved in perpetuity.
The Forest Preserve District closed on the 741-acre property on Oct. 1, 2008. Acquisition of it had been a 20-year goal for the District. The Brunner Family Forest Preserve is the largest waterfront piece in the district’s holdings and the largest property ever acquired from a single landowner.
The area has been deemed some of the highest quality, unprotected habitat in Kane County. Bald eagles have been observed along the riverfront, in addition to rare mussels in the Fox River and regionally rare plant and shrub species. Among priorities are bird habitats for the Willow Flycatcher, American Bittern and Sedge Wren. The district also plans brush removal to support habitats for Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies and other animals.
Located between Route 31 and the Fox River, Brunner is bordered by Buffalo Park Forest Preserve in Algonquin to the north, Fox River Shores Forest Preserve in Carpentersville on the south and east sides of the Fox River, and Raceway Woods Forest Preserve to the southwest. When combined, these forest preserves make for more than 1,000 acres of contiguous open space.
In May 2013, the Forest Preserve District was awarded a $400,000 Illinois Department of Natural Resources Open Space Land Acquisition & Development grant for the initial development of Brunner Family Forest Preserve.
All of that will be celebrated at Saturday’s event, Forest Preserve District President Mike Kenyon said.
“We’re just so excited to have people come out and experience Brunner Family Forest Preserve,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of activities planned. It’ll be a great day.”
SOURCE: Kane County Forest Preserve District website