Project marks culmination of community efforts to connect forest preserve with local destinations
(Oct. 14, 2020) — The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is celebrating the opening of a 1.2-mile trail, scenic overlook, 2-acre picnic area and 25-car parking lot at Dunham Forest Preserve
Funded in part by a $1.3 million grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancements Program, the trail and lot connect Dunham with a historic train depot in Wayne at the northeast corner and Cornerstone Lake Park in West Chicago at the south end.
“Today you can easily explore these great open spaces from a new 1.2-mile trail the winds through the preserve and connects with Cornerstone Lakes Park in West Chicago,” said Forest Preserve District Commissioner Al Murphy, District 6.
The Dunham trail will eventually be part of a larger north-south DuPage Technology Corridor Trail
that will connect the Elgin and Batavia branches of the Illinois Prairie Path with Fermilab, the DuPage Airport, the DuPage Technology Park, and additional forest preserves.
In 2007 the Forest Preserve District began working with the village of Wayne and the Wayne Historical Society on the Dunham Forest Preserve Master Plan, which was approved in 2008 and included the trail and parking lot. An intergovernmental agreement with the West Chicago Park District made it possible for the Forest Preserve District to build a 150-foot trail within Cornerstone Lake Park to link with the Dunham trail.
The trail and parking lot provide the first public access to Dunham, which features 212 acres of restored prairie and wetlands. The restoration work was also a multiagency effort with 135 acres of prairie funded, planted, and partially maintained by the Wayne Area Conservancy; 11 acres of wetlands mitigated by Canadian National; and 27 acres of wetlands funded by DuPage County Stormwater Management.
“What started out in the 1850s as agricultural fields anchored by a train depot is now a 374-acre forest preserve with 212 acres of Class IV prairie and wetlands, some of the highest quality habitat in the county,” said Forest Preserve District President Daniel Hebreard.
Returning the land to prairie and wetlands improves ecological health and helps with flood water storage. One acre of wetland can hold up to 1.5 million gallons of stormwater, trap pollutants carried in the water before they reach underground reservoirs, and provides irreplaceable habitat for hundreds of species of native plants and animals. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 4 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, blog, Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram pages.