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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 Underwater Maple Leaf Bur Oak Afton Storm Spiderwort Smallmouth Fishing Kestrel

DeKalb County Forest Preserve

Terry Hannan - Superintendent

Legislative Center - Sycamore Campus

200 N Main St, Sycamore, IL 60178

Phone: 815-895-7191




The Forest Preserve District was established by citizens of DeKalb County in 1940. In Illinois the Forest Preserve District mission is " to preserve , protect, restore and manage natural areas and open spaces, provide environmental education, and offer compatible recreational opportunities". The DeKalb County Forest Preserve District maintains and manages 17 forest preserve sites in DeKalb County and provides Environmental Education Programs for students and the public. Forest Preserve sites are open to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.
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. 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 Hoppe Heritage Farm / 1835 Miller Ellwood Cabin will open Fall - Winter 2014

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