The Forest Preserve District of Kane County asks for public input on extending the Great Western Trail and on proposed improvement plans for the Little Woods Forest Preserve at two public hearings.
The purpose of the Land Acquisition & Enterprise hearing is to present proposed plans to extend the Great Western Trail within LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve. The plan would extend the Great Western Trail to Randall Road.
The Planning & Utilization hearing will present proposed improvement plans for the Little Woods Forest Preserve in St. Charles. Some of the improvements would include a new entrance, a shelter with a picnic area and restroom. This will be done in cooperation with the Wayne Area Conservancy Foundation.
These meetings take place on Thursday, Feb. 26, at Forest Preserve District headquarters, 1996 S. Kirk Road, Geneva. The Land Acquisition & Enterprise meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. and the Planning & Utilization meeting begins at 9 a.m. Possible application to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for funding assistance will be discussed at both of these meetings.
About Little Woods Forest Preserve
The 162.62 acres that make up Little Woods Forest Preserve were purchased by the District on Nov. 2, 2011, as part of the 2011 land acquisition and preserve improvement referendum. The preserve is the district’s first in Wayne.
The property was officially named “Little Woods Forest Preserve” on Aug. 14, 2012. Research has indicated this preserve was once within a prominent natural feature known as the “Little Woods.” The place names “Big Woods” and “Little Woods” likely originated from settlers in the 1830s, and were told to James Thompson and John Thompson, the first US Government land surveyors dispatched to this region. The original 1839-40 Government Land Office survey maps generated from the Thompson’s field surveys for the County clearly show two large and distinct woodlands east of the Fox River. It is easy to see why each section of “Timber,” as labeled on the maps, comprising Big Woods and Little Woods, were so named.
It is interesting to note that a region and settlement named Little Woods did exist in the northern portion of St. Charles Township, east into DuPage County, and it was recognized by name from at least 1842 until July 7, 1853, when the name was changed to Wayne.
Amenities for this property will be considered as part of the next Master Plan process.
About LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve a popular destination for both passive and active recreation, with high-quality prairie, woodland, and Ferson Creek meandering through the preserve.
Contained in the preserve is a true prairie relic (the Murray prairie), prairie restorations (including the Bob Horlock area), meandering Ferson Creek, flood plain forests, seeps, oak woodlands and grassy fields. Also, the only native colony of Speckled Alder is growing here along Ferson Creek. Seeds of prairie plants have been sown across approximately 40 acres of old fields, both north and south of Dean Street.
The site itself is varied and beautiful, with over 130 feet of elevation difference from the crest in the center of the property to Ferson Creek.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve also serves as home to Creek Bend Nature Center – the hub of the Forest Preserve District’s Environmental Education program. Cultural gems such as the Durant House Museum and Pioneer Sholes School are also located at LeRoy Oakes. The Durant House Museum, as well as the Pioneer Sholes School, are listed on State and National Registers and are available for tours by reservation.
Further, LeRoy Oakes serves as the trail head for the Great Western Trail. The Great Western Trail connects to the Mid-County trail that winds through LeRoy Oakes before heading north along Randall Road.