Dunham Developments Detailed
From The Conservationist
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is working on plans to add a 23-car parking lot, 1.2 miles of limestone trails, an interpretive overlook and a 2-acre picnic area at Dunham Forest Preserve in Wayne. The trail in particular will offer great wildlife-watching opportunities in the future because it will carry hikers, bikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers through the forest preserve’s proposed wetlands and prairie, which provide habitat for upland birds and migratory waterfowl.
This first phase of public-access improvements will also link the Cornerstone Lakes park and school to downtown Wayne and a historic train depot that the Wayne Historical Society plans to renovate. The District has been working with the village of Wayne and the historical society since 2009; construction should begin in late 2016 or early 2017. A $1.3 million Illinois Transportation Enhancements grant is helping to fund this part of the project.
The Forest Preserve District is also working with several partners to continue to create 212 acres of prairies and wetlands at Dunham, including 135 acres of prairie funded and maintained by Wayne Area Conservancy, 11 acres of wetlands mitigated by Canadian National, and 27 acres of wetlands fund by DuPage County Stormwater Management.
Since 2008 the Wayne Area Conservancy has helped the District fund, install and maintain more than 150 species of flowers and grasses on more than 135 acres of native short-grass prairie, a value of more than $175,000. The Forest Preserve District continues to seed Dunham with prairie species in these and other areas of the preserve.
To create the new wetlands, the District will rehydrate the soil, in part by disabling drain tiles buried in former agricultural fields. But first, contractors will use large forestry equipment, saws and chippers to remove weedy and nonnative trees and shrubs along Norton Creek and drainage ditches. The District will then be able to seed the area with native wetland plants. Most of this phase will take place this winter, and for visitors’ safety the District will need to temporarily close parts of the preserve.
This story first appeared in The Conservationist