St. James Farm Master Plan Executive Summary (Updated April 6, 2010)

Project History

In 2000, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County acquired the 607-acre St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville, Illinois, through a life-estate agreement with Brooks McCormick and formally took possession of the preserve in 2007. Since that time, the District’s Office of Planning has been formulating a master plan for the new preserve.

The Office of Planning has researched the property, collected data, and gathered input from stakeholders to draft the conceptual master plan displayed here. The master plan and supporting documentation were presented at a public open house in October and posted on the District’s Web site for public review and comment for 30 days.

During that time, the District received 115 submissions, many of which contained more than one plan-related comment and question. In all, the District received 192 comments and questions. The following is a breakdown of comments and questions received:

Operations, management and programming issues — 44 percent of comments received
Trail-related issues — 37 percent of comments received
Natural resources — 6 percent of comments received
Site amenities — 5 percent of comments received
Site access and circulation — 4 percent of comments received
Master-plan process — 4 percent of comments received

Status

The District’s Board of Commissioners approved the St. James Farm Master Plan on April 6, 2010.

Existing Conditions

The preserve is generally bounded by Mack Road on the north, Galusha Avenue on the south, Herrick Lake Forest Preserve on the east, and Winfield Road on the west. Butterfield Road (Illinois Route 56) bisects the preserve. The majority of the southern half of St. James Farm is in agricultural production, and the northern half contains agricultural and equestrian facilities in addition to agricultural fields, mature oak woodlands, meadows, wetlands and Springbrook Creek.

Master Plan Concept

The main farm, with its historic stables, barns, and support buildings, lends itself to be the main interpretive area of St. James Farm. The east farm, with its large show stable and picnic pavilion, is best suited for equestrian special events. The east farm is also where the McCormicks had dressage and jumping arenas, facilities that would be renovated in place. The north farm, developed as a trailhead and picnic area with additional amenities for equestrians, would be supported by a horse-trailer and car parking lot. The south farm, which is largely undeveloped, provides opportunities for restoration activities that would benefit water quality, plant communities, and wildlife habitat. The south farm also features the Galusha House, one of the oldest structures in Warrenville, which has great opportunities for collaboration with the Warrenville Historical Society for interpretation.

Circulation, Parking, and Trails

The main entrance is on Winfield Road north of the intersection with Butterfield Road. The main access road passes through the former deer park, scattered with mature oak trees. On a hill along the route, a picnic area with a small parking lot, shelter, and restroom overlook the pond. The main parking area is west of the main farm complex, centrally located to access the main interpretive area, a small catch-and-release fishing pond, and pedestrian trails. The meadow south of the main access road would be mowed several times per year for overflow parking during special events. Vehicular access to the east farm would be allowed only during special events through the Hoy Avenue entrance. By keeping the circulation separate between the main farm and the east farm, conflicts between vehicles and trail users will be greatly minimized. During special events involving horses, trailers would be allowed to use the trail in a controlled, managed fashion from Mack Road down to the east farm area on a special-use-permit basis. The trail and bridge over Springbrook Creek would be upgraded to support trailers but would not be so wide as to not have the appearance of a trail. The south farm has a small parking lot accessed from Galusha Avenue near the historic Galusha House; the lot would support programming at the house as well as trail users.

The multipurpose trail system, which connects to both sides of St. James Farm via the existing Butterfield Road underpass, passes through rolling, mature woodlands; restored prairie and meadow areas; and wetland and riparian habitats. It connects to the Illinois Prairie Path; other forest preserve trails that lead to Herrick Lake, Blackwell, and Warrenville Grove forest preserves; and the neighborhood and middle school to the south. Bicycle parking is provided to encourage riders to park their bikes in the main farm area. When considering trail alignments, efforts have been made to utilize historic trail alignments and allées of trees and to use existing on-site sculptures as focal points.

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