Citizens Demand More Trees For DeKalb Nature Trail Restoration

Apr 9, 2013

Planting will begin soon along a DeKalb nature trail that was clear-cut below Com Ed power lines last November. The group tasked with coming up with a restoration plan presented it to the public last night. 

Josh Clark of the DeKalb Park District presents the plan to add plants, shrubs, and prairie along the DeKalb Nature Trail.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It includes planting small native trees, shrubs, and prairie grasses while removing invasive plants such as honeysuckle. The work would be done by the DeKalb Park District and the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District, with ComEd paying for some of the plants and applying herbicides.

The original plan included removal of more trees to encourage new growth: but the public attending last night’s meeting made it clear they didn’t want any more trees taken out just yet. Jane Levinsky is one of two public representatives on the panel that came up with the plan. She says she’s glad 44 trees targeted for removal have been given a reprieve.

“The risk of that is is it going to look like hell? Maybe. But, I think that you restore a little bit of faith in what’s happening in this process, that I think it’s a good move to wait on those trees."

Many in the Monday night crowd wanted any major restoration decisions to be approved by the next park board, since several seats are up for election today. Nature trail users and nearby residents were surprised last fall when what was described as “vegetation management” under ComEd power lines turned out to be clear-cutting all along one side of the mile-long trail.

Rock River Times publisher and Rock River Trail founder Frank Schier has offered 200 oak saplings to help in the restoration. But the DeKalb Park District may not be able to use them along the nature trail: they say that’s because of their eventual size and sprawl, which could someday encroach on the path and power lines that started it all.

Specifics on the restoration plan and time table will be available on the DeKalb Park District's web site.