Back by popular demand, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County is offering free wood chips to the public in late April.
Wood chips will be available for pick up at two locations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, at Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin and also at Big Rock Forest Preserve in Big Rock.
Forest Preserve District staff will be on hand to help load with a tractor at both sites from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 21. Afterward, the public may pick them up on their own through 5 p.m. Non-District machinery to load/unload is not permitted.
Residents should bring their own shovels and containers. The public is welcome to take as many wood chips as they can haul away.
The chips are from hardwood trees removed throughout Kane County because of storm damage or clearing efforts. None of the wood chips are from ash trees.
Burnidge Forest Preserve is located at 14N035 Coombs Road, Elgin. Big Rock Forest Preserve is located 46W072 Jericho Road, Big Rock. Signs within both preserves will direct people to the pile location.
For more information, contact the Forest Preserve District of Kane County at 630-232-5980, visit us at www.kaneforest.com or find us on social media by searching @forestpreserve.
SOURCE: Forest Preserve District of Kane County news release
Burnidge Forest Preserve
Beautiful vistas and rolling terrain are the outstanding features of Burnidge Forest Preserve, one of the largest preserves in the district. There are several different plant communities and soil types here.
Oak woodlands cover the hills on the southwest portion of the preserve and mingle with the marsh at lower elevations. A restored prairie stretches to the north, and a small creek meanders toward Tyler Creek.
Visitors can walk trails throughout the preserve and observe a diversity of wildlife in these natural communities. Nearly 600 acres of rolling terrain contain a series of watersheds that filter into the Tyler Creek greenway.
You’ll enjoy nine miles of hiking trails here, including a 2.25-mile, multipurpose trail suitable for hiking, biking or equestrian use. You’ll also be able to view plants and wildlife in their natural habitats. There are also stocked fish ponds. No swimming is allowed.
This preserve includes a horseback riding area. Most horse trails are natural surface, mowed grass paths. Limestone screenings trails and asphalt bike trails are available in some of the preserves. These are multi-use trails shared with runners, bicyclists, dog walkers etc.
Horse riders are required to stay on designated, forest preserve-maintained trails. Trail riding is not allowed in restricted natural areas, Illinois Nature Preserves, picnic areas or in farmed areas. To prevent trail damage during wet weather, trails may be temporarily closed. Individual forest preserves will post a sign at the entrance when horse trails are closed. Trails are currently OPEN for equestrian use at this preserve.
Big Rock Forest Preserve
Mature woodlands, high-quality marshes, tallgrass prairie, clear-running creeks and a 65-foot deep lake are just some of the highlights of Big Rock Forest Preserve. Visitors will find lots to enjoy in any season of the year, from summertime fishing, to hiking in the autumn woods, cross-country skiing in winter, and birdwatching during spring migration.
Siegler Lake is a premier feature of the preserve. Formerly a limestone quarry, the lake was formed when high floodwaters breached the banks of Big Rock and Welch Creeks in 1996, sending torrents of water into the quarry. The result of this flood event was a 32-acre lake, complete with fish and invertebrates that were swept in with the floodwaters.
Subsequent fish habitat projects have been undertaken, and the lake supports a diversity of fish and aquatic wildlife. It’s a popular destination for anglers. Please follow posted regulations for catch-and-release fishing. Fishing is allowed in the Big Rock Quarry on a catch and release basis. Swimming is not allowed.
Big Rock Creek, rated one of the best quality streams in Illinois, is home to freshwater mussels — indicators of high-quality habitat.
High sandy bluffs overlook patches of woodlands and prairies in the preserve, and a specialized wetland called a fen is fed by underground seeps on the southeastern portion of the preserve.
Visitors may walk from either of the two parking lots to the woodlands, the marsh, the fen and the prairie. There is a loop trail around Seigler Lake, with beautiful views over the water. A 1.25 mile, screenings trail, established in 2013, leads north from the lake to Big Rock Campground.
Horses are allowed on designated equestrian trails.
The preserve originated in 1992 with 294 acres. In 1998, 133 acres were added, which includes the gravel quarry. In 2003, 30 acres were added to the preserve. In 2006, 118 acres were added. In 2008, 19 acres were added. The final 246 acres that make-up the preserve were purchased in 2010, with partial funding through an Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Open Space Land Acquisition & Development (OSLAD) acquisition grant.
This preserve also includes a horseback riding area. Most horse trails are natural surface, mowed grass paths. Limestone screenings trails and asphalt bike trails are available in some of the preserves. These are multi-use trails shared with runners, bicyclists, dog walkers etc. Horse riders are required to stay on designated, forest preserve-maintained trails.
Trail riding is not allowed in restricted natural areas, Illinois Nature Preserves, picnic areas or in farmed areas. To prevent trail damage during wet weather, trails may be temporarily closed. Individual forest preserves will post a sign at the entrance when horse trails are closed. Trails are currently OPEN for equestrian use at this preserve. Note: Even if the other equestrian trails are closed, the limestone Lake Loop Trail remains open for riding, during preserve hours.