Outdoor Recreation

The McHenry County Conservation Foundation strives to connect people to the wilderness in their communities by funding events and special projects. Recreational projects made possible through donor support include:

Hunting APPFunding Smartphone App Improves Efficiencies and Safety for District Hunting Program

The Foundation funded the design of a smartphone app to assist in the monitoring and management of the Conservation District’s public hunting program. The app enables participants to virtually check-in and check-out of their hunting locations, eliminating the need for staff in-person monitoring and a paper system. The app gives Conservation District police officers real-time location data on all participants in the program and provides hunters with an emergency button which alerts police with GPS coordinates. In addition the app allows participants to record their harvest, allow for data-based compliance checks, alert District Ecologists of suspected diseased animals, and share their confirmation numbers.

Ridgefield Trace Ribbon CuttingRidgefield Trace Bike Trail Segment
The Foundation stepped in and offered $5K to jumpstart fundraising initiatives to close “the gap” in the Ridgefield Trace regional bike trail (created by railroad crossing) to help secure and finalize the 7- mile long, continuous trail from Woodstock to Crystal Lake, along Route 14. The donation was made possible by contributions to the Tap into Your Wild Side live and silent auction fundraising event.  (Total funds needed to raise for completion $100,000 - trail completed in 2018).  

Lost Valley Adventures ExhibitLost Valley Visitor Center - Passport to Lost Valley Adventure

The Conservation Foundation funded $12K toward the professional development and design of an interactive exhibit for the Conservation District’s Lost Valley Visitor Center. The design encouraged exploration of the outdoors through a series of hands-on exhibits, and to help visitors better understand what they will encounter in the diversity of habitats within Glacial Park. The Conservation District then used the plan to successfully secure a grant from the Illinois Public Museum to fabricate and install the new exhibits. The exhibit opened in 2020.