Time of Walk: 9:20 AM
Temperature: 14° F (felt a little warmer)
Another beautiful January day.
I walked a little later this morning than I did yesterday. I took my youngest (13) with me while he’s still on winter break. It was quite cold, but we dressed warmly and had a great time.
Although I’ve driven by a local private nature preserve likely hundreds of times since moving to this area in 1986, I’ve never really walked through it. This suburban park is surrounded by retail, residential, and light industrial areas, and I have to admit that I knew very little about it before today.
I wasn’t exactly sure where to park, so I headed to a business that I knew (from experience) had a big, open parking lot–Comcast (a great place to people-watch, by the way). After a two block walk, we came to the trail opening and headed in. The trail had a sign that it was monitored by a family. Another part of the trail had a sign about another family. Curious.
It was beautiful frozen prairie land surrounding a pond (which I later learned is officially a lake). We walked toward a bridge and looked around. Since it was quite cold we didn’t stay long before we headed back to the car, but I promised myself two things: that I would learn more about this place and that I would be back to explore more of it in the future.
What I learned after returning home is that the village bought the land back in the 1940s from the Illinois Central Railroad. The railroad had mined sand in the area which made it too swampy for later railroad use. When the industrial park was expanded in the 1990s, the village dug the swampy areas into lakes for local flood management. The preserve was restored and is maintained by privately raised funds and volunteers.
The preserve is open to the public, but one must purchase a permit to fish or walk a dog. Since I had to step over some dog poop on the trail, I’m guessing that this may be too difficult to enforce.
I’ll still go back.