The buzz

Preserves We Love: Rock Run, for bringing people and nature together

A woman poses for a photo on a trail while a runner passes by.
Digital marketing assistant Meghan McMahon. (Photo by Chad Merda)

About this series: The Will County forest preserves mean many things to many people, including Forest Preserve District staff. Some of us enjoy the peace and tranquility of a particular preserve, while others among us enjoy the bustling feel of some of our more well-traveled trails. For some, the work we've done in the preserves is meaningful and fulfilling. "Preserves We Love" allows Forest Preserve staff to expound on their favorite preserve and why it's special to them. In this edition, digital marketing assistant Meghan McMahon tells us why she loves Rock Run Preserve. 

At its surface, Rock Run Preserve might not look like much. At 320 acres, it’s not particularly large as our forest preserves go. It’s not steeped in the history of the region or full of artifacts of life in a different time in Will County. Even the habitat may seem a little ho hum at first glance — some small forested areas, open grasslands and a small pond as well as Rock Run creek. What it does have, though, is people, so many people.

Our motto is Bringing People and Nature Together, and Rock Run Preserve is proof that we are doing just that. People visit by foot, by bike and by car in droves every day, so while it might not have the best of anything, it is, to me, the best example of what the preserves strive to be.

Rock Run is always bustling. On fair weather days, the trails are full of people — strolling the trails at their leisure and working up a sweat. You can find people fishing at the pond and picnicking at the shelter and on sunny benches. Even when the weather isn’t so fair, you’ll find people out pursuing their passions or getting in a workout.

And while it may not be the preserve with the best wildlife viewing, there’s almost always something interesting to see or hear. In the spring, it comes alive with the sounds of robins, cardinals and red-winged blackbirds singing their familiar tunes. If you look and listen closely, you can find dozens of other bird species too. Swing by the pond on a sunny day to look for turtles basking on logs. No matter the season, you’ll see deer quietly browsing while keeping a watchful eye on you.

Rock Run is something of a suburban oasis, a large open space in one of the most populated parts of the county — the west side of Joliet near Plainfield and Shorewood. Its proximity to so many people makes it a good spot to meet friends and catch up over a walk or get in a quick run. The Rock Run Greenway Trail runs right through it, making it all the more accessible to people who live in nearby neighborhoods.

If a busy preserve isn’t your scene, you might want to skip a trip to Rock Run Preserve on a nice day. But if you ever need proof of all the positive benefits nature can have in people’s lives, a visit to Rock Run is most definitely in order. No matter the weather, it’s a place where you can see firsthand how people and nature intersect and why preserving these outdoor spaces will always be worthwhile.


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