Witkowsky State Wildlife Area ~ A JDCF Partner Preserve

Thanks to a public/private partnership between JDCF, the Illinois DNR, and the volunteer group, the Friends of Witkowsky, 10 miles of new hiking trails have been opened to the public at the Witkowsky State Wildlife Area, a 1,000+ acre natural area located 7 miles north of Hanover, IL  on Blackjack Road not far from Chestnut Mountain Resort. A trail map can be downloaded here: Witkowsky SWA Trail Map 2019.

The project has taken six years and thousands of volunteer hours and the results are amazing.  Mowed trails take visitors through prairies, into deep forests with unique rock outcroppings, over shallow streams, and to a lookout with a stunning view of the surrounding countryside.  There are even remnants of the Hanover Earth Station to be explored.  The Witkowsky State Wildlife Area is open daily dawn to dusk.  The trails are closed to hikers during firearms hunting seasons. Hunting season dates are posted at the kiosks near the parking areas and also on the IDNR website found here.

This project was made possible through thousands of volunteer hours from JDCF’s Friends of Witkowsky Trails group led by Brad Petersburg, ongoing support from the Witkowsky family, an Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation amenities grant, and Galena Country Tourism. We also thank the IDNR, planning, maintenance, and scientific staff for their technical and “boots on the ground” assistance through the project.

A grand opening of the trail system has been postponed due to COVID 19 until June 11, 2021.  However, the trails are open as of June 12, 2020 for anyone to enjoy by following the rules to be posted at the parking lot kiosks by July 1, 2020.

Upcoming Events

All Things Butterfly ~ A Facebook Live Event

August 13 @ 10:00 am - 10:30 am

JDCF will be on location at the Wapello Land and Reserve for a program all about butterflies.  We will be joined by a butterfly expert who will discuss the life cycle, migration patterns, and importance of these insects, specifically the painted lady.  Our Facebook Live series is sponsored by the Apple River State Bank/First Community […] Read More

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Facebook Live with Dubuque County Conservation

August 20 @ 10:00 am - 10:30 am

We will be traveling across the river for a Facebook Live broadcast with special guest Kaytlan Moeller of Dubuque County Conservation to learn about the many opportunities for outdoor recreation in and around the Dubuque, IA area.  We thank the Apple River State Bank/First Community Bank of Galena for sponsoring our Facebook Live series.

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Fireside Storytelling at Wapello

October 12 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Bring a lawn chair and join the JDCF’s volunteer group, the Friends of Wapello, by a fire for storytelling.  Stories can teach lessons and make people laugh. Native Americans that once inhabited Wapello passed on their knowledge to the next generation through story telling. Come listen, learn, and share a laugh.  You can even bring […] Read More

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