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Local

DeKalb Park District Nature Trail restoration plan available to public

DeKALB – A Park District plan to replace invasive plants along the 1.3-mile DeKalb Nature Trail and replace them with native species that will not threaten nearby power lines has been posted on the DeKalb Park District’s website.

Park commissioners will talk through the plan to revitalize the trail at their upcoming Sept. 21 board meeting. In the meantime, district officials want interested residents to review the plan and share their thoughts.

According to the 59-page plan, the removal of undesirable and invasive species coupled with the introduction of high-quality native species will improve the overall quality and ecological function of the plant communities on the 15.75-acre area.

The plan was compiled by DeKalb-based Encap Inc., an ecological consulting firm coordinating with the Park District, whose officials summarized the goals and proposals in mind to revitalize the heavily traveled pedestrian trail, which winds its way from near the intersection of Sycamore Road and Greenwood Acres Drive northwest to North First Street at Timber Trail.

Representatives from Encap presented their proposals during two public hearings in June and discussed a draft plan with the DeKalb park board during its July meeting.

To ensure reliable electrical service, ComEd has been working on a five-year cycle to remove vegetation that might interfere with the power transmission lines along the nature trail. This work most recently was performed in March.

In 2012, ComEd was criticized for clear-cutting trees and vegetation beneath and near the lines. Some heartbroken trail users complained that the deforestation ruined the atmosphere of the trail and destroyed vital wildlife habitat.

The September meeting is scheduled for the Hearthside Room in the Ellwood House Visitor Center at 509 N. First St. Questions, comments or concerns on the restoration plan can be directed to Executive Director Amy Doll by calling 815-758-6663, ext. 7265, or emailing adoll@dekalbparkdistrict.

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