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Outdoor Report


Kendall County Forest Preserve District 5-Year Plan – 2023 Year in Review

The District is pleased to present updates on the District’s strategic priorities and projects completed in our 2023 Year in Review report.

The 5-Year Plan focus areas include:

  • Land Acquisition
  • Conservation and Stewardship of High-Quality Natural Resources
  • Preserve Improvement Projects
  • Connecting People to Nature and Outdoor Recreation
  • Capital Infrastructure and Equipment

Pickerill Estate House

The Ken and Jackie Pickerill Estate House was opened in July 2023. The house and 26-acre estate was generously donated to the District by Ken and Jackie Pickerill. Renovation of the estate house was completed with support from an $828,200 Illinois Department of Natural Resources PARC grant award.

The Estate House hosts District education and partner agency programs, special events, and private events. The event venue features a large and spacious outdoor covered patio, indoor spaces including a grand entryway and reception area, a hospitality room, small dining room, a small living room, and other amenities. The Pickerill Estate House can host up to 90 people on the patio and 60 people inside of the Estate House. The hospitality room includes counters, sinks and refrigerator and freezer units. The preserve grounds and secluded patio area provides ample space for guests to enjoy the outdoors. Fees are based on use, with staff support options for set-up and clean-up of your event. Book your shower, birthday party, graduation party, and much more! Reservations are currently being accepted! Reservation forms and pricing can be found here.

Subat Nature Center – A Little Bit of Everything

Acquisition of Subat Forest Preserve was completed in 2002 under three separate grant awards from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and additional support from The Conservation Foundation. Generous donations were received from the estates of John and Mary Subat to support construction of a nature preserve building in memory of Mary M. Subat.

In 2023, the District was awarded a $600,000 Illinois Department of Natural Resources – Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant to complete preserve master plan improvements including a three-season education and interpretive center. The District is working to complete designs for the new nature center, with the preserve re-opened to the public in fall 2024, and exhibits completed by summer 2025. The Mary M. Subat Nature Center will feature an interpretive pavilion with open-air conservation exhibits, a wetland boardwalk and trail connections to Hoover Forest Preserve, expanded parking for visitors and school buses, and other campus improvements.

Subat Forest Preserve contains “a little bit of everything” Kendall County. The location and diverse woodland, prairie and wetland habitats and other natural resources drew both indigenous people and early settlers to this area. Interpretive exhibits will focus on the diverse wildlife and habitats, land use history, and natural resource connections to the Fox River valley to help visitors build a greater sense of place.

Hoover - Fox River Bluffs Forest Preserves Trail Connection

In February 2024, the District’s Board of Commissioners approved plans to construct a trail extending from the northeast corner of Hoover Forest Preserve at the Eldamain Road Bridge to Fox River Bluffs Forest Preserve. The District is applying for an Illinois Department of Natural Resources – Regional Tails Program grant for $200,000, with an additional $189,000 commitment from the Kendall County Transportation Alternatives Program. If awarded, the project will be completed by fall 2025.

Fox River Bluffs was opened in 2023 and features a small parking lot, restored prairie and oak reforestation project, and a 1-mile trail loop and spur. First-phase construction efforts will complete an underpass and three-quarter mile trail connection and loop to Fox River Bluffs, with connecting turf trails into the bluff areas completed shortly thereafter. Phase II will complete the final ADA accessible trail connections.