A state grant totaling $151,000 will help the Forest Preserve District of Will County construct two crucial segments of the DuPage River Trail at Whalon Lake, a 249-acre district-owned preserve in Naperville and Bolingbrook.
The grant was announced Thursday by Marcy DeMauro, the district’s executive director, at the Board of Commissioner’s monthly meeting.
“The two trail connections total less than one-quarter mile, but they are critical links from Whalon Lake preserve to existing trail systems,” DeMauro said. “The south connection will connect the bridge over the east branch of the DuPage River to the DuPage River Greenway Trail, the Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm and Hidden Oaks Nature Center. The north connection will get to existing trails in Bolingbrook, Naperville and DuPage County. This is a wonderful amenity for our preserve and trail users.”
The matching grant, which was announced by Gov. Pat Quinn late last month, is part of the state’s $1 million investment to develop or improve 42 miles of bicycle trails in Illinois. The grant will be used to help pay for the District’s project, which is estimated to cost $302,000.
Engineers will begin working on the District’s DuPage Trail connections in June. Construction is expected to start in 2015, and the trail segments could be open in late 2015 or early 2016.
The northern trail segment will travel from the existing loop trail around Whalon Lake to Paxson Drive. A bike lane on Paxson Drive leads north to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Greene Valley Forest Preserve’s trails, which are part of the DuPage River Trail system. The southern trail addition will connect the Whalon Lake loop trail to the Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm, which is owned by the Bolingbrook Park District.
Both trail segments will be constructed in a way that will modify the sloped terrain making them handicapped accessible.
The District is working in partnership with 12 agencies to construct more segments of the DuPage River Trail. The District owns 6.81 miles of the 10.81 miles of the DuPage River Trail that have been completed in Will County so far. The goal is to have the trail stretch about 60 miles from the Illinois & Michigan Canal Trail in Channahon north into DuPage County.
For more information on the DuPage River Trail or any of the 127 miles of trails owned by the Forest Preserve District of Will County, go to ReconnectWithNature.org.