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Land Trusts & Trails

  • Embarras Ridges Land & Water Reserve (map)

Trails are where quality of life and conservation meet. Illinois Trail Corps and Grand Prairie Friends invite conservation land trusts from around the state to tour and learn from the trail development project at the Warbler Ridge Land & Water Reserve, just south of Charleston, Illinois.

The Warbler Ridge trails project is a partnership between Grand Prairie Friends and Illinois Trail Corps, a program of the non-profit Trails for Illinois. Illinois Trail Corps helps public agencies, conservation land trusts and trail groups plan, design and build natural surface, non-motorized trails that invite people to enjoy and explore the outdoors while minimizing ecological impact and maintenance. 

The young adults who serve in the Corps get expert training and leadership in sustainable trail design and construction, and they LOVE teaching others and showing off their work. At the Open House, you will learn:

  • Why Grand Prairie Friends said “YES!” to public access in its newest, largest reserve
  • The considerations and methods of sustainable trail planning and design
  • Hands-on tread construction techniques (with sharp, heavy hand tools)
  • The role sustainable, low-maintenance trails could play at your own properties
  • The value of partnerships between conservation and non-motorized trail users and groups
  • How good a bratwurst tastes after a 3-mile hike with over 800’ of climbing! (Yup, we’ll grill out.)

BONUS: A guided tour of the Woodyard Conservation Area, just up the road from Warbler Ridge. The world-class mountain bike trail system at Woodyard grew out of a conversation and then a partnership between the mountain bikers, the City of Charleston, and local conservationists and birders to better steward and protect its 206 acres while increasing its value to Charleston’s economy and quality of life. (Got a mountain bike? Bring it, we'll ride afterward.)