Forest Preserve District has guide, trail maps


BYRON – To celebrate the 40th anniversary of their organization’s founding, the Byron Forest Preserve District has developed its first ever Preserve Guide & Trail Maps for all of the preserve sites and facilities in the District. 

The new preserve guide features a road map of District boundaries with the locations of the District’s nine different preserves, golf course and other indoor facilities on the front side with detailed individual preserve maps, trail guides, special preserve features, and other information needed to enjoy the outdoors on the back side.

The free Preserve Guides & Trail Maps will be available for people to pick up starting on Monday, April 20 at 8 a.m. from an outdoor box located in front of the Jarrett Prairie Center located at 7993 North River Road in Byron. The interior of the building is currently still closed due to the Covid-19 virus.

“We had wanted to have a big promotional effort and have the maps available to be distributed to the Byron and Oregon Chambers of Commerce, Byron Public Library, Oregon Public Library, Julia Hull Public Library, Byron Park District, Oregon Park District, Blackhawk Waterways CVB and our Jarrett Prairie Center and PrairieView Golf Club” said Mark Herman, Superintendent of Education, “but with the Covid-19 shelter in place restrictions, we wanted to get these maps out as soon as possible, so that people can use our preserve trails as a safe place for social distancing exercise and stress relief.”  

The new Byron Forest Preserve District Preserve Guides & Trail Map project has been nearly two years in the making. The District partnered with the Ogle County GIS Partnership and they researched the boundaries for over 2,100 acres of preserve land. During the summer of 2019, GIS Technician, Jodi Heitkamp walked nearly 36 miles of Byron Forest Preserve District trails with a GPS device to plot the trails exact locations and distances. This information was then sent to Assistant Superintendent of Education, Janet Dahlberg who spent many hours color coding individual trail routes, adding facility features, amenities, dog walking locations, and descriptions of the individual preserves habitat types, plants and wildlife. The result is a quality fold up pocket map that will should increase use of some of the Districts lesser known preserve sites for both local residents as well as for tourists and nature enthusiasts from outside of the area.

The next part of the 40th anniversary project is to produce individual trail maps for each preserve site and to put up trail junction directional signs at some complex trail intersections to help hikers and runners better enjoy their outdoor experience.

The Byron Forest Preserve District is located on the rolling hills along the Rock River in northern Ogle County. Established in 1980, the District currently manages more than 2,100 acres of protected land at nine different preserves. The preserve lands include dolomite tallgrass prairies, gravel hill prairies, sand prairies, oak-hickory forests, oak savannas and wetlands.

The mission of the Byron Forest Preserve District is Preservation, Education, and Recreation. The agency is devoted to purchasing, protecting, and managing natural areas, both to increase biodiversity and to conserve the rare plants and animals of our region. For more information visit the Byron Forest Preserve District Facebook page.