At their regular meeting on October 19, 2020, the Byron Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of Board President Trevor Hogan. Hogan has been a Commissioner since 2011, serving as President for many of those years. He has decided to move on in other endeavors with the Byron Forest Preserve. The Board of Commissioners and staff are very grateful for his service to the District and the community.
The Byron Forest Preserve District announced that they have more than doubled the size of their popular Bald Hill Prairie Preserve thanks to an $837,600 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The original 160 acre Bald Hill Prairie Preserve located at 5502 North Silver Creek Road in Mt. Morris was acquired in November 2017 with the support of another $434,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to protect the rare gravel hill prairie ecosystem.
Two new kayak launches and boat docks have opened on the Rock River in northern Ogle County. 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.
The Bradford Pears have recently been removed from along the main drive at the entrance to the Byron Forest Preserve District’s Jarrett Prairie Preserve. They had run their short lifespan. This ornamental tree species has an average lifespan of only 15 to 25 years and the remaining Pears at the Jarrett Preserve entrance were close to 30 years old. Nine trees had come down over the last few years and several more had lost significant limbs the last couple of years. At that age, the top heavy limbs are prone to rot and breaking off of the main trunk. The decision was made it was time to remove the remaining Pear trees.
The Byron Forest Preserve District will be holding a lottery for archery deer hunting at two District preserves this summer for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 archery seasons. A lottery drawing will be held to randomly select six hunters for archery season hunting permission at the District’s Howard Colman Hall Creek Preserve and at the Barrick Oaks Homestead Preserve. Entrants must be taxpayers to or residents within the Byron Forest Preserve District and at least 18 years of age before October 1, 2018. Each site will be monitored by a District hunt manager. Three hunters will be allowed at each site. Prior game violations can exclude entrants from eligibility.
By Russell Brunner, Superintendent of Land Management
What may appear to be a messy operation by the Jarrett Prairie Center, the Restoration Department is actually reclaiming an ecosystem that has been lost in time.