DuPage County’s Blackwell Forest Preserve offers activities for everyone

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Visitors at the Blackwell Forest Preserve can be one with nature by enjoying one of its many outdoor activities.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has about 26,000 acres of space across 60 forest preserves. At Blackwell, visitors can stroll along the seven-plus miles of trails, enjoy water activities, and much more.

Water activities at Blackwell Forest Preserve

One of the more popular attractions at Blackwell is Silver Lake. You can explore the water by renting or bringing your own canoe, kayak, rowboat, or paddleboat.

“I love getting to help people experience going out on the water for the first time,” said Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Seasonal Ranger, Rachel Johnston. “It’s always fun sending someone out and they’re like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’ and then they’ll come back in and they’re like, ‘I had so much fun, you’ll see me back here another time,’ or just seeing families getting to have time together is also a really nice experience.”

Fun in the water can be enjoyed by people of all capabilities, as the Blackwell Forest Preserve has an ADA-compliant dock.

“Compliance is definitely something that is really important to us here at the Forest Preserve,” said Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Ranger, Melanie Cosgrove. “We want everybody to be able to access the outdoors regardless of their abilities. So we do have an ADA kayak launch, along with our fishing peers, which you can walk right up to on a smooth even surface available for everybody.”

If you like to fish, Silver Lake along with White Pond and Sand Pond are great spots to catch northern pike, bass, bluegill, and more.

Land-based activities at Blackwell

The Blackwell Forest Preserve offers many land-based activities, including archery. An archery open house will be held on August 5, where attendees can enjoy the three different levels of ranges.

Families can enjoy the night at one of Blackwells’ wooded or semi-wooded campsites. Tents, trailers, and motor homes are welcomed on the grounds.

“We are one of the only camping facilities in DuPage County,” said Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Ranger, Taylor Schuman. “We have our family campground and there are 64 sites, and they’re all reservable up to a year in advance.”

Volunteer opportunities across the County

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is also a place where you can volunteer. They offer 12 different programs at multiple locations.

“We’ve had a lot of volunteer opportunities throughout the county, not just here at Blackwell, but we’ve got several education sites such as Willowbrook Wildlife Center, Kline Creek Farm, and all of those sites,” said Cosgrove. “We really do rely on our volunteers, like Taylor said, we’ve got over 60 preserves and all of those preserves need maintenance care and attention, and we really rely on our volunteers to get all of that done.”

At the heart of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County are the rangers, who cover many roles and responsibilities. The job calls for some early mornings, but also, beautiful scenery.

“I definitely enjoy being able to be outside as a ranger,” said Cosgrove. “One of my primary shifts is an opening shift, so I go out, open the gates for the preserve, and make sure everything is safe before visitors come in. And with that, comes some really amazing sunrises.”

To find more information about Blackwell and other forest preserves across DuPage County, visit the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County website.

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