Dunham Forest Preserve Parking Lot, Scenic Overlook and Trail
Dunham Forest Preserve, located south of Army Trail Road and west of the Union Pacific Rail Line in northwest DuPage County’s village of Wayne, has historically been an agricultural field with the exception of the northeast corner of the site, where a train depot stop for the Geneva & Chicago Union Rail line was located. The rail line and subsequent train depot were constructed in 1850 and were used for passenger transport until 1956 when it switched to freight rail, at which time the depot was moved to Dunham Castle. The 374 acres of undeveloped land was acquired by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in 2006 from the Oliver Hoffman Corporation, and in 2007 the train depot was moved back to its original location by the Wayne Historical Society.
Since 2007 the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been working collaboratively with the village of Wayne and the Wayne Historical Society on the Dunham Forest Preserve master plan. The master plan includes a 1.2-mile trail and a trailhead in the northeast corner of the site that will connect Army Trail Road to Smith Road via Cornerstone Lakes Park. On Feb. 22, 2007, The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County had an open house in Wayne where they presented a draft of the Dunham Forest Preserve’s conceptual master plan. After public comment, the revised master plan was presented at a commission meeting in front of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Board in April 2008, where it was accepted.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is currently in the preliminary design phase of a proposed bicycle path through the Dunham Forest Preserve. This improvement is part of the Dunham Forest Preserve Master Plan and includes a bicycle path connection from Cornerstone Lakes Park (West Chicago Park District) to Army Trail Road, along with a parking lot that will have two 2 ADA accessible parking spots and 25 additional parking spots at the trailhead.
The proposed bicycle trail through the forest preserve will be two-way, 10-foot wide limestone screening path with 3.5-foot wide grass shoulders. There will also be a 10-foot wide trail that will lead to an overlook of the forest preserve west of the parking lot. The trail provides a link of the future DuPage Technical Corridor Trail that will connect multiple spurs/branches of the Illinois Prairie Path, Fermilab, DuPage Airport, DuPage Technology Park, and additional forest preserves in the area.
Access to the trailhead parking lot will be through a driveway from Army Trail Road, located east of Billy Burns Road. It will be a two-lane access driveway with one 12-foot lane in each direction. The shoulder section will transition to curb and gutter as it approaches the parking lot, which will also have curb and gutter.
The improvement will require no additional right-of-way from the surrounding property owners, will not affect any historic property, or other culturally sensitive areas. Two culverts will be constructed under the trail in order to provide drainage within the proposed wetland banking that are part of the Dunham Forest Preserve Master Plan.
In March 2014 the District received a $1.3 million grant from the state-funded Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program. The grant will fund the parking lot and the 1.2-mile trail. In addition to the grant, about $480,000 from the District’s capital development budget will fund 20 percent of the construction cost through the financing of engineering phases 1 & 2.
Phase 1 engineering began November 2014 with construction anticipated to start in the summer 2017.