The Rock Island County Forest Preserve District has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to support enhancements to the existing Mississippi River Trail/Great River Trail within Illiniwek Forest Preserve.

The federally funded grant is part of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), designed to provide funding assistance for acquisition, development, rehabilitation and maintenance of both motorized and non-motorized recreation trails throughout the country, according to a news release.

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Set among the bluffs of northern Rock Island County, the well-known Great River Trail bike path that currently runs through Illiniwek Forest Preserve will be a key area of focus with the addition of a new bike lane and bike repair service station. The funds also will be used to expand the main road through the campground for increased safety and accessibility, with a complete rebuild planned for the existing bathroom structure. Hutchison Engineering, Inc. of Moline will oversee the project design, the release says.

“We have a dedicated biking community in the Quad Cities that frequents both the paved trails through the campground and the off-road forest trails on the other side of the park,” said Mike Petersen, Illiniwek Forest Preserve ranger. “We’re thrilled to continue to enhance this amenity for Quad Citizens and out-of-town visitors alike.”

Along the Mississippi River on the east side of Hampton, Illiniwek Forest Preserve has 173 acres ideally situated for a combination of recreation, both on land and in the water. The park offers a wide array of amenities, including primitive camping areas, 60 pads with water and electric hookups, a boat launch ramp, hiking trails, a picnic shelter and a scenic wooded bluff picnic area overlooking the Mississippi River.

“We have a responsibility to conserve this land, and that includes protecting the amenities and accessibility that allows our community to experience all that it has to offer,” said Kai Swanson, Forest Preserve Commission president. “These renovations represent our unwavering commitment to ‘Keep the QC Outdoorsy’ and provide local destinations for education and recreation for all residents to enjoy.”

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The Forest Preserve plans to bid out construction for the park renovations later this year with the goal of making all upgraded amenities available to the public by summer 2023.

About the Rock Island County Forest Preserve District

The mission of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve District is to maintain and acquire lands and facilities in Rock Island County with the intent to restore, conserve and protect the waters, forests and prairies they contain and the goal to create educational and recreational opportunities for the residents of Rock Island County and beyond.
The Rock Island County Forest Preserve District is governed by the Forest Preserve Commission. Today, the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission governs six forest preserve areas with a total of 2,529 acres. They include Loud Thunder Forest Preserve, Illiniwek Forest Preserve, Niabi Zoo, Indian Bluff Golf Course and Forest Preserve, Dorrance Park and Martin Conservation Area.

For more information about the Rock Island County Forest Preserve District, visit here.