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DeKalb County Forest Preserve District

Sun Dogs Female Cardinal Winter Tree Water Flower Prairie Burn Outreach Purple Coneflowers Butterfly Flower Tree Forest Meadow Clouds Winter Woods Jay Prairie Oak

DeKalb County Forest Preserve

Terry Hannan - Superintendent

Administration Building - Sycamore Campus

200 N Main St, Sycamore, IL 60178

Phone: 815-895-7191




The DeKalb County Forest Preserve District was established in 1940. The Forest Preserve mission statement by Illinois Statue is to acquire, preserve and restore land and to provide for public outdoor recreational and environmental educational opportunities. Forests Preserves support native Illinois plant and wildlife ecosystems. Forest Preserves are designed to conserve energy, protect and restore sustainable landscapes, improve habitat diversity, clean our air and water, reduce soil erosion, re-charge groundwater and help in flood control.Please read and follow the Dogs on Leash rules. (pdf)


In all seasons, the DeKalb County Forest Preserves offers a variety of outdoor activities surrounded by forest, prairie and wetlands. Prairie Oaks Forest Preserve has beautiful old oaks in the oak savannah, prairie and wetland habitat along the hiking trails and picnic area. Russell Preserve, beneath mature oaks and hickories, surrounded by woodland wildflowers. The Natural Resource Center, also at Russell Preserve, is open to the public on weekends and can be reserved by school groups and other organizations for outdoor educational field trips. The 1835 Miller - Ellwood cabin is located on the Hoppe Heritage Farm and South Branch Prairie (cabin can be opened upon request @ 815-895-7191). Visit Afton Preserve to see native Illinois prairie plants blowing in the breeze, part of a prairie and wetland restoration there. Fishing is an ideal activity at Knute Olson Jr. Preserve, where two ponds lie nestled in the woods and along the Kishwaukee River.


At one time, Chief Shabbona and the Potawatomi Indians lived in the Chief Shabbona Preserve, the historical marker along the trail tells of their time here. You can find the interesting story of Chief Shabbona's historypdf  The 1500 acre Shabbona State Park is adjacent to Chief Shabbona Preserve. For a feeling of great open space for picnicking, hiking, or a game of softball, try Nehring Preserve. Fish the Somonauk Creek in summer or toboggan in winter at Sannauk Preserve.


Along the banks of the Kishwaukee River, MacQueen Preserve offers a large lodge to organize a wonderful time with a family reunion or recreational group. Adjacent to MacQueen Forest Preserve is the 300 acre Potawatomi Woods Forest Preserve on the north side of the Kishwaukee River and on the south side of Kishwaukee River is the 600 acre Kishwaukee River State Fish and Wildlife Area.


Adee's Woods provides an area for a picnic and a walk through the woods. If biking or snowmobiling is your interest, try the Great Western Nature Trail, which starts in DeKalb County and extends through Kane County to the Fox River Trail. The DeKalb/Sycamore Trail links the DeKalb Park District Trail from Lions Park on DeKalb’s south side to Sycamore and the Great Western Trail. County Farm Woods links the DeKalb Sycamore Trail as a great rest stop along your way. Merritt Prairie offers 56 acres of rolling terrain with native prairie and wetland restorations as the outstanding features of this park.  Wilkinson/Renwick Marsh preserves wetland habitat and is an excellent area to listen to and view wildlife.  The Sycamore Forest Preserve plans to open May 2017...STAY TUNED!!


DeKalb County Forest Preserve District offers 3 areas with horseback riding trails. Potawatomi Woods forest preserve has a 1 mile loop trail, horseback riding is allowed on the mowed shoulders of the 3 mile DeKalb County section of the Great Western Trail ( no parking on site for horse trailers) and horseback riding is allowed on the 1/2 mile gravel road at Chief Shabbona forest preserve ( limited parking on site for horse trailers) . Please stay off trails if conditions are wet. Trails may close due to wet conditions in the spring and fall or at any time due to unsafe conditions – call 815-895-7191 for questions and any other information.


DeKalb County Forest Preserve sites are open to the public on a non-discriminatory basis


In March 2006 DeKalb County voters approved a land acquisition referendum to preserve and protect land in DeKalb County. For more information call 815-895-7191 or email us