Forest Preserves and CAMBr partner on more than 13 miles of single track trails in Paul Douglas Preserve in Hoffman Estates
October 19, 2022 — Mountain bike riders and trail runners have a new single track trail system among woodlands, grasslands and wetlands in the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve. A ribbon-cutting celebration at the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s property in Hoffman Estates was led this morning by Cook County Board and Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison, Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall, Chicago Area Mountain Bikers (CAMBr) Executive Director Mike Angus and other local elected officials and community members.
The Paul Douglas trails follow from the success of the popular Palos Preserves single track trails in Southwest Cook County, a long-standing partnership between the Forest Preserves of Cook County and CAMBr. The Paul Douglas system offers 13.3 miles of single track trails—narrower, natural surface trails that are designed to challenge mountain bikers and trail runners.
“For years, the extensive single track trail system in our Palos Preserves has been the premier mountain biking experience in Cook County. Now Paul Douglas Preserve is the newest destination for riders, runners and anyone looking for a more immersive natural experience in Northwest Suburban Cook County,” President Preckwinkle said.
A total of 13.3 miles of single track trails are now open in Paul Douglas Preserve. The west side of the preserve has 8 miles of trails, including a 4.5-mile route and several loops ranging from 1 to 3 miles. Another 5.3 miles are open on the east side, which will be expanded to a total of 9 miles when fully complete. Runners and riders move in opposite directions, switching by days of the week—making it safer on the trails and essentially doubling the experience for repeat visits.
Five years ago, CAMBr began working with the Forest Preserves to identify a site to add a set of single track trails in the north half of Cook County. Working together, the Preserves and CAMBr identified the best routes that balance the riding experience with protecting against erosion and minimizing the impact on the local ecology and wildlife. The trails themselves have been built with more than 3,000 hours of volunteer time by nearly 150 CAMBr members.
“The Forest Preserves has had a unique partnership with CAMBr for more than 20 years in Palos. It’s been a great collaboration, and I want to thank CAMBr for all their hard work over the years and here at Paul Douglas Preserve. This single track option is a wonderful new addition to the many amenities at Forest Preserves sites across Cook County that are a gateway to outdoor recreation and the natural world,” said General Superintendent Randall.
At 1,800 acres, Paul Douglas Preserve is one of the largest contiguous parcels of land anywhere in the Forest Preserves, with a mix of woodlands, prairie, marshes and ponds. Ecological restoration at the site by the Forest Preserves has included improvements to the water flow and removing hedgerows, which has led to healthier wetlands and the return of nesting grassland birds like savannah sparrows and bobolinks.
“I would like to thank the Forest Preserves for their support and partnership in building the Paul Douglas natural surface trail system. The trail system is designed to be directional and appeal to a broad range of riders from beginner to advanced. It will be enjoyed for decades,” said CAMBr Executive Director Mike Angus.
Other speakers at the ribbon-cutting included Village of Hoffman Estates Trustee Gary Pilafas and Wayne Haworth, who coordinates the Trailhead run group for Dick Pond Athletics.
About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.