He-Leo Two Rivers Preserve
He-Leo Two Rivers Preserve is a small, but scenic, property located at the merging of the Rock River and the Leaf River. Named for Helen and Leo Piper, friends of the Etnyre family, the original 21 acres were donated to the City of Byron in 1986 as a sanctuary for wildlife, and was one of the first properties that came under ownership of Byron Forest Preserve. Later, in 2012, the former Mount Morris Boat Club was acquired, increasing the overall size of the preserve to 48 acres. The property is also a merging of prairie, woodland, wetland, and floodplain, providing outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to hike and enjoy a wide variety of plant and animal life. The park area includes over 1200 feet of accessible Rock River frontage, a shelter house, picnic tables, and charcoal grill, offering visitors a chance to relax along the water. Boat docks, fishing pier, canoe launch, and sand volleyball pit round-out the list of amenities that are available. So, whether you’re looking for natural relaxation or natural wonder, He-Leo Two Rivers Preserve can accommodate your needs. There is no motorized boat launch at this site.
Kayak Launches and Boat Docks
The Byron Forest Preserve District and the Byron Park District have installed new state-of-the-art kayak launches and floating boat docks at their facilities located on the Rock River in Byron and Oregon for kayakers and canoeists to enjoy. The Byron Park District’s recently renovated Kathryn A. Hamas Memorial Park located at 108 E. Diamond Street in Byron contains new walking trails, playground, shelter and fishing piers along with new kayak launch and floating boat docks.
Approximately 3.9 miles downstream, the Byron Forest Preserve District has installed an identical kayak launch and floating boat docks at their He-Leo Two Rivers Preserve located at the confluence of the Rock River and Leaf River at 6065 North Illinois Route 2 in Oregon. This 48 acre preserve has a picnic shelter, portable toilets, hiking trails, restored oak savannas and wetland areas. It is a haven for a wide variety of birds and other wetland wildlife species.
A leisurely kayak trip from Kathryn A. Hamas Memorial Park to the He-Leo Two Rivers Preserve takes about 60 to 90 minutes depending on the weather conditions. Both facilities can be accessed by car from Illinois Route 2.
For more information regarding these new Rock River kayak launches and docking facilities contact the Byron Forest Preserve District at 815 234-8535 extension 200 or the Byron Park District at 815 234-8435.