Bigger parking lot, connection to I&M Canal State Trail coming to Lake Chaminwood
Improvements are coming to Lake Chaminwood Preserve near Channahon this year as the Forest Preserve expands parking, improves accessibility and provides a crucial trail connection.
The preserve, which features a 35-acre lake and a 0.7-mile paved trail, opened in 2012 and is a popular site, which sometimes leads to a lack of parking and forces preserve patrons to park on Shepley Road. As a result of this congestion, the Lake Chaminwood parking lot will be more than tripled from 21 spots to 74 spots, and the existing vehicle entrance will be relocated approximately 300 feet west along Shepley Road.
The project also includes a new accessible kayak launch and floating dock. A gravel parking lot will be added for trailer parking for kayaks, canoes and small boats that can be carried to the lake. This first phase of the project also will add a pedestrian welcome plaza to the site and new pathways to connect the new parking areas to the lake and existing trail.
Preserve closures will be necessary during some portions of this work. Closure notices will be posted online.
Preliminary brush removal has already taken place at Lake Chaminwood, and construction of the parking lot and connecting pathways is expected to be completed by June.
A second phase of improvements is scheduled to be bid in June or July, and if all goes as planned, that work will be completed by the end of the year.
Phase two will include two new accessible fishing piers and a 0.25-mile extension of the Lake Chaminwood Trail. This short path addition will provide a crucial connection to the 61.5-mile I&M Canal State Trail via a 90-foot bridge over the canal. The I&M Canal State Trail travels from Rockdale to LaSalle.
Lake Chaminwood is the planned southern terminus of the DuPage River Trail. Connecting Lake Chaminwood to the I&M Canal State Trail now will allow for the regional DuPage and I&M Canal trails to be connected in the future.
Funding for the Lake Chaminwood project is coming from a $750,000 donation (paid in two installments) from the Dollinger family, an $80,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Boat Grant program for the accessible kayak launch and the Forest Preserve's Capital Improvement Program.