Kane County Forest District will turn golf course into preserve
The aging Deer Valley Golf Course in Big Rock will close and become part of the Big Rock Forest Preserve under a Kane County Forest Preserve District plan to transform the course back to a natural area.
Commissioners on the planning and utilization committee unanimously approved plans to close the par-three, nine-hole course at the end of March, the district announced in a news release Thursday.
The district staff said the closure is true to the plan when the district bought the 17.5-acre property in 2000. The course was already in place at the time of the purchase. Twenty-one years later, the costs to maintain and improve the course are beyond the value it provides to the district, according to a recent five-year revenue report on district golf courses.
The Deer Valley Golf Course is, by far, the least used of the district's three courses. It pulls in about one-tenth of the gross revenue of the district's most popular course at Settler's Hill.
The Setter's Hill course is closed for this year as it undergoes a complete revamp. The Hughes Creek Golf Club in Elburn remains open.
The restoration of Deer Valley will bring 12.5 acres back to natural prairie. Four acres will be oak woodland. The current pond on the course will be part of a one-acre wetland designed to improve flood control and water quality in the area.
A ¾-mile trail will be added and connect to the 10-mile trail system within the existing Big Rock Forest Preserve.
Natural resource management director Ben Haberthur said the plan includes several natural resource benefits.
"Big Rock Creek is one of the most pristine creeks in Kane County," Haberthur said in a written statement. "By removing the potential for chemical and nutrient runoff from the golf operation, we are helping to protect this important waterway and improve habitat for wildlife."
The creek is home to a variety of plants and animals, including the spike mussel and mottled sculpin, which are both on the list of threatened species in Illinois, meaning they are dropping in numbers and close to being endangered. The creek also hosts bald eagle nests.