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updated: 10/11/2017 7:50 PM

First public trail planned for one of Lake County's oldest preserves

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  • A crumbling road inside Lake County's Spring Bluff Forest Preserve will be removed and replaced by a trail for walkers, joggers and nature lovers by next summer.

    A crumbling road inside Lake County's Spring Bluff Forest Preserve will be removed and replaced by a trail for walkers, joggers and nature lovers by next summer.
    Courtesy of Lake County Forest Preserve District

 
 

One of Lake County's oldest forest preserves finally is getting a recreational trail, and other amenities are planned.

The Lake County Forest Preserve District board on Tuesday hired a contractor to build a crushed stone and asphalt path at the Spring Bluff Forest Preserve near Winthrop Harbor.

The trail will replace a crumbling asphalt road that runs for less than a mile inside the 229-acre preserve.

Maneval Construction Co. of Ingleside will be paid $220,514 for the job.

Work could begin this month, and it should be completed by June.

Spring Bluff is at 1200 7th St., just south of the Wisconsin state line.

It's adjacent to Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park.

The forest district started buying land there in 1963 -- just five years after the agency formed.

But unlike most other preserves, Spring Bluff has never had a trail for walkers, joggers or other visitors.

It once had a parking area and a large picnic shelter overlooking Lake Michigan, but those were removed to make way for improvements to the state park, said Katherine Hamilton-Smith, the district's director of public affairs and development.

Forest district board member Carol Calabresa, who leads the planning committee, said the new trail will be "beautiful."

Additionally, a wildlife observation structure and informational signs are planned, district documents indicate. But those will be covered by a different contract.

Forest district leaders have budgeted $573,700 for all the planned improvements. The district is set to receive a $263,700 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help fund the effort.

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