Waterfall Glen: Trail Improvements at Musk Turtle Marsh

Overview

The 2,472-acre Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is home to savannas, woodlands, prairies and wetlands, which visitors can experience via 10 miles of looped trails. A section of trail next to Musk Turtle Marsh, however, has been seasonally closed for the past 25 years due to flooding, which has created significant public-safety concerns and maintenance issues.

Because of these concerns, in February 2012 the Board of Commissioners approved a 0.5-mile limestone-trail bypass around the marsh, which will allow visitors to enjoy the looped trail system year-round. The bypass will be on high ground through woodlands that contain “kettle hole” wetlands — shallow, glacier-made areas that usually hold water only in spring and early summer — and a pine plantation that borders Argonne National Laboratory. A new overlook will feature signs that describe the importance of the marsh.

To counter any effects the new trail might have on neighboring ecosystems, the project will create healthier, uninterrupted habitat within the marsh by removing several turf trails as well as the existing limestone trail. It will also restore 66 acres of high-quality woodlands known as Kettle Woods. As part of this restoration work, the District will remove specifically selected nonnative and invasive plants and reseed with native species.

Funding

Roughly $250,000 from the District’s yearly appropriated capital development fund will cover the cost of the project.

Status

This section of trail was completed in Oct. 2013

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