Renovations to Blackwell

Upgrades to the Blackwell Forest Preserve in Wheaton are targeting those interested in outdoor recreation.

Visitors can now fire away at a new archery range. There are eight lanes for beginners and three for more advanced shooters who bring their own bows and arrows.

“With the Olympics [and] Hunger Games, I know archery is going to be on the forefront for many years so we’re looking to increase our numbers and our programs even more,” said Jay Johnson, Manager of Operations for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

When they aren’t taking aim, residents can also enjoy a meal at the 3-acre picnic area. Nearby is a state-of-the-art Urban Stream Research Center, the only one of its kind in Illinois.

The center is a place for ecologists to monitor DuPage County’s streams and conduct research about aquatic species like Mussels and endangered turtles.

“We’ve done a lot of habitat along the west branch of the DuPage River,” said John Oldenburge, Director of Natural Resources for the forest preserve. “Subsequently our thesis is to take fish and Mussle species and propagate them at this facility for reintroduction into that new habitat.”

There forest preserve plans to offer universities and conservation agencies opportunities to use the research center as well.


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