Boone County Conservation District

Last update 05-11-15

District Website

I happened to take a look at their web site recently (this is being written 5-3-15). There are now maps showing each of the conservation areas, including a bunch I did not even know existed. Some of the maps have red lines on them presumably showing trails, but I have not seen any actual trail maps on the web site, although I think you could print the map out and use it.

Some of the areas are hashed in with diagonal red lines on their web site maps. I don't know what that means. I thought at first it meant it was not open to the public, but one area I know is not open to the public is not shown that way and at least one area shown that way also shows trails and it would not make much sense to have trails if it is not open to the public. Another area shown hashed in by Candlewick lake is a place they were just bragging about recently opening up hiking trails in so it would seem the red hashed lines mean something else. [5-11-15]

They do not seem to deal real well with email to the general delivery email address, so it is best to call if you have questions, or direct an email to a specific person. The web site now has email addresses for key staff members. I have gotten quick answers to questions by addressing them to a specific person, but not such good luck with their general delivery email address.

I am pretty sure there are boxes for trail maps at some of the areas we have hiked but IIRC all were empty. If you call, they will mail you trail maps. I scanned the trail maps they sent me so I would have something to post and print out.

No drinking water (except maybe at Spencer). All except LIB had outhouses or porta-potties that were reasonably clean.

They also have a dog park (have to buy a tag as is typical of dog parks), and a bunch of small sites that have no real hiking opportunities.

NOTE: BCCD allows archery deer hunting on some weekends in Oct, Nov, Dec, and Jan. Best to check before showing up to hike on weekends those months.

These are the BCCD areas that we have been to.

Beaver Bluffs Conservation Area
This is mostly a dog park as best I can tell. As dog parks go it is pretty elaborate. The dog park part is 8 acres according to the web site of a total of 79.1 acres. I don't have a map of the whole park. The web site says only the part north of the river is open to the public, however I do not think it goes near a river. It may mean north of Beaver Creek that flows through the area and looks like it cuts off about half of the acreage. I stopped in one day as Wilma and I were passing by hoping to see if there was more information on the new property the district purchased which I think is to the south, but saw nothing posted.

Brown Conservation Park
This park is small, an acre according to their newsletter. It consists of  a small parking area, a picnic shelter with 6 tables, a hand pump well, and toilet facilities. It is located along the Long Prairie Trail where it crosses Caledonia Road. This is not currently (as of 12-25-11) even shown on their website in their facility list, although it is mentioned in their newlsetter that I ran across on their site. The well worked and the toilets were unlocked, but the parking lot was blocked. I sent an email to the district asking about the parking issue. The response was that the parking lot was closed for the season, as are a number of other parking lots, apparently to save money on snow plowing.
12-24-11 We turn around here on a hike on the Long Prairie Trail

Distillery Road Conservation Area     Map Map
Includes Anderson Woods and Nelson Ford areas. Located along the Kishwaukee River just west of Belvidere. Lots of trails and plenty of places to explore. I have not been able to find two of the three primitive camping areas. I thought in the past that maybe I just missed the trails to them. Now I think the trails that go to two of them do not actually exist. There is a bit of a maze of trails up in the far NE corner of the park that is not accurately represented in the district's map that I scanned. It also does not show the second set of power lines that run across the north edge of the park. There is a set that run more or less parallel to the river that are two wooden poles, and another set that runs east to west across the north end of the park that are steel towers, although most of it appears to be outside of the park. I found a map that seems to better reflect what is actually there trail wise on added a few things like the power lines and the yellow gate to it and posted it. I think it is probably the best trail map for this location as the district's map seems really off.

Ipsen Road Conservation Area/Newburg Village Conservation Area     MAP
A cooperative project with Winnebago County Forest Preserve District. Not a bad hike. Easy trails. Has a fancy new outhouse. The trail head for County Line (WCFPD) goes through Ipsen Road C.A. and then through Newburg Village C.A. before getting to County line. There is a firebreak/trail that more or less follows along the river through the two C.A.s up to Newburg Road you can take on your way back. There is a fire break/trail along the north side of Newburg Road in LIB C.A. you can walk on up to Ipsen Road. Then you have to walk along Ipsen Road to the trail head. I have been told there is some kind of plan to include access under the bridge at Newburg Road so hikers can walk under the road along the river. Based on our 2-7-15 snow hike, it appears the fire breaks have been converted into a pretty decent trail system inside of Ipsen Road C.A..
11-20-11 We just stopped by here today to take a look.

Kinnikinnick Creek Conservation Area     Map
Nice sized preserve. Nice horse trail. Good creek access. We have been here mulitple times because we like it. A fair amount of grade change makes for a little bit of effort. I even liked the hiking trails here. You have to ford the creek at the west end of the park to get across the creek if you are on the horse trail, but with waterproof boots it is not a big deal as there are some gravel bottom areas where it is not real deep. Might be more of an issue if the water was higher. The creek crossing on the east side can be skipped by a short detour.

NOTE: The horse trail at Kinnikinnick Creek Conservation Area was posted as being off limits to hikers as of about 11 A.M. on 2-6-14.

2-12-14 Post that mentions a private horse trail between Roland Olsen FP and KCCA
Hikers banned on horse trail

LIB Conservation Area     Map
Smallish, especially compared to Distillery Road located across the river. Good water access for Wilma. No facilities. Countyline is down the street though and has an outhouse.

Long Prairie Trail     Map
The Long Prairie Trail goes east-west across Boone County and it is one of their properties. It is a paved 14+ mile bike trail. Maybe sometime Wilma and I will give it a try. It roughly follows route 173 through Boone County and connects to the Stone Bridge Trail in Winnebago County to the west, and dead ends at the Boone County line to the east.
More scouting - County Line Road and Poplar Grove 5-19-12
Scouting Expedition Caledonia and Capron 5-12-12
I did a TrailLink Review Based on Our 12-24-11 Hike
We hike from Roland Olson to Caledonia Road 12-24-11
12-12-11 Just taking a look when we hiked the Stone Bridge Trail
12-7-11 We took a look on this jaunt to Roland Olson FP but lost the video

Spencer     Map
Medium sized. Right in the middle of Belvidere. Has a bit of a park versus a FP feel to it. Nice trail system, a lot more trails then one might expect from the size of the place. Three good sized ponds and access to the Kishwaukee River. Nothing real special there, but worth going to. I am not sure but there might have been a well or other drinking water here. You can access the Kishwaukee River Front Path here that passes thru Spencer park and also goes north along Appleton and Beloit Roads to Belvidere North high school, or east along the river through Belvidere and Doty Parks.

Tuttle-Clarkson     Map
Small, but has a nice swamp. No good access to the creek that flows through it. Short trail system.