KC opens new campground in Big Rock

By on August 16, 2013
DSC_0906

Photo: The Kane County Forest Preserve District recently opened the Big Rock Campground on Granart Road in Big Rock. A ribbon cutting will take place Saturday, Aug. 17, with free hot dogs and other food, giveaways and guided nature hikes. Photo by Susan O’Neill

BIG ROCK—The Kane County Forest Preserve District opened a new campground last weekend in Big Rock, within the Big Rock Forest Preserve.

The campground contains 105 camp sites including 96 improved slots, vehicle campsites with 50-amp electrical service, water access, parking pads and fire rings, and nine primitive, tent-only sites without electric access.

Four equestrian camp sites will be open in the spring of 2014. Among the sites are eight ADA-accessible slots.

Other campground amenities include a picnic shelter, restrooms, and miles of trails in the surrounding forest preserve.

The facility opened for camping on Friday, Aug. 2, and the Forest Preserve District will hold a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, to celebrate its opening. The public is invited to participate in the festivities, and will be treated to free hot dogs and other picnic fare, giveaways and guided nature hikes.

Camping will also be free for that night, as sites are available. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and vouchers will be given out for a future date, if all the sites are taken.

“Our hope is to fill the campground,” said Laurie Metanchuk, Community Affairs director for the Forest Preserve District.

Daily fees for the improved sites are $15 for Kane County residents and $25 for non-residents. Primitive/non-electric camp sites are $10 per day for residents, $15 for non-residents.

According to the Forest Preserve District website, the Big Rock Forest Preserve is an 842-acre preserve, with mature woodlands, high quality marshes, tallgrass prairie, clear-running creeks and 65-foot-deep Siegler Lake.

Formerly a limestone quarry, Siegler Lake was formed when floodwaters breached the banks of Big Rock and Welch Creeks in 1996, flooding the quarry. The result was a 32-acre lake, which currently supports a diversity of fish and aquatic wildlife. The lake is also stocked, and fishing is allowed on a catch and release basis. Swimming is not allowed.

Kane County residents have long asked for another campground, especially since the Bliss Woods Forest Preserve in Sugar Grove no longer allows camping.

The Big Rock campground was paid for with funds provided through the district’s most recent referendum in 2011, as well as $600,000 in federal and state funding administered through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Metanchuk said.

Big Rock Campground is located at 46W499 Granart Road, Big Rock. The district’s other campsite is the Paul Wolff Campground, located within the Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin, Ill.

For more information about camp site availability and conditions, call the Forest Preserve District’s camping hotline at (630) 444-1200.