Summer 2018 Conservationist

News & Notes

New Boating Regs and Extended Summer Hours for Visitor Services


On June 1 the Illinois Department of Natural Resources eliminated its water usage stamp. As a result, you no longer need one to apply for a Forest Preserve District private boating permit for a nonmotorized craft. (If your boat has a motor, though, you still need to provide a state registration number.)

On June 15 the Forest Preserve District updated a few additional requirements. Most importantly, all boating permit applications — for motorized and nonmotorized craft alike — need to include hull identification numbers. Boaters can also now apply for permits for pontoons under 20 feet long. Inflatable watercraft still need to be multichambered but can now have either 1) certification by the National Marine Manufacturers Association or the Coast Guard through the manufacturer or 2) factory-made hardened floors.

Have questions? Call Visitor Services weekdays 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 30) at 630-933-7248. You can get answers in person, too, at the headquarters office at 3S580 Naperville Road in Wheaton. 

Image by Javier Alejandro/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Challenge Accepted at West Chicago Prairie


The Friends of the Forest Preserve District, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the District, has received a Community Stewardship Challenge Grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to restore 6 acres of habitat at West Chicago Prairie. For every dollar the Friends raises, the ICECF will donate $3 up to $21,000. The foundation will contribute an additional $4,000 if volunteers at the preserve log 400 hours before October 2019.

The forest preserve was eligible for the grant because of the active support of the West Chicago Prairie Stewardship Group, the nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to helping the high-quality site.

To maximize the match offered by the ICECF, the Friends has set a fundraising goal of $7,000. To make a tax-deductible donation toward the project, visit our priority projects page.


New Bridge at McDowell Grove


After nearly nine months of construction the main entrance to McDowell Grove has reopened with a new bridge. The crossing features a separate lane for visitors on foot or bicycle, a big improvement over the 70-year-old single-lane structure it replaced. With a clear span of the West Branch DuPage River and a higher elevation, it also limits the risk of debris catching and accumulating below during floods. The project also eliminated a dangerous entrance curve and rerouted the West Branch DuPage River trail around the parking lot.


Master Plan Update


In 2017 the Forest Preserve District began work on a new master plan, a road map to guide its management of natural areas and development of educational and recreational efforts over the next five years.

The first step was to gather opinions and comments from DuPage residents and fans of the forest preserves, so between August and November 2017 the Forest Preserve District conducted surveys and held several meetings for residents, volunteers, staff and commissioners. In all the District heard from over 6,500 individuals.

The Forest Preserve District expects to have a draft of the master plan completed by the end of the year. In the meantime, the 2017 Community Input Summary, a recap of the opinions and comments gathered last fall, is posted at our master plan page.


Many Thanks


The Forest Preserve District thanks the donors who contributed to its efforts between Feb. 12 and May 13. To learn how contributions of financial support can benefit the District, visit our donate page. To give to the Friends of the Forest Preserve District, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit fundraising arm of the District, visit the designated gifts page at

Gifts of Note
The Estate of Mary Haywood $5,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Gary Dobson and Cynthia Rein $1,625 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Suzy Cho $700 — Mayslake Peabody Estate
Chet and Jeannette Wilczak $500 — Mayslake Peabody Estate

Gifts of Note to the Friends of the Forest Preserve District
BP Foundation $2,244.40 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center Thanks to Patricia
     Banaszak’s Volunteer Hours
Pro-Pak Industries Inc. $1,500 — Greatest Needs
Greenprint LLC $1,200 — Recreational Equipment
Mary Ann Mahoney $1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Kenneth McAfee $1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Bank of America Charitable Foundation $500 — Adopt a Blanding’s Turtle
Matching Gift for Annette Thompson John and Diane Fiore $500 — Greatest
Annette Thompson $500 — Adopt a Blanding’s Turtle
Laura Torphy $500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Carlo Treviso $500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center and Greatest Needs