Help name McHenry County Conservation District's 35th site
McHenry County Conservation District is looking for the public's input on naming its 35th site.
The 213 acres of protected open space are located in Alden along the Alden Creek riparian corridor west of Alden Road. The approximate boundaries are Ferris Road on the west, Route 173 on the south, Oak Grove Road on the north, and Alden Road on the east.
Site name nominations will be accepted through March 12. Submissions can be sent to MCCD@MCCDistrict.org or in the comment section of the Facebook post @DiscoverMCCD.
Often a site is named by the characteristics of the land itself or the history of the land use. Following are the geologic, natural, and cultural history of the land to take into consideration when brainstorming the future name of this conservation area.
Geologic History: Geologists refer to this area as the Alden gap. A gap is a geologic feature created by scouring water that was channeled beneath the Woodstock Phase of the Glaciers in what is termed a tunnel valley. The gap funneled meltwater from the glacier and an enormous ice block westward until the valley filled with sand and gravel, and the retreating ice funneled the water south and east along the current course of Nippersink Creek.
Natural History: Large depressional wetlands support a marsh in the lowlands. At the time of settlement, woodlands dominated by white oaks existed on the higher ground. The district will be reforesting these uplands in the coming year.
Cultural History: The Alden area supported Clovis Era hunters who moved into the region while it was still glaciated. Clovis period artifacts have been found around the site as well as the bones of Ice Age bison and elk. The town of Alden was named for Alden, New York, an area where some of the original settlers came from. The Kenosha and Davenport rail line also once ran through the sits. Vestiges of the original berm are still visible in multiple areas. The rail line was abandoned and portions of it have become what we know today as the Hebron Trail. In the original public land survey notes, Alden road is designated as an Indian Trace (trail).
Of the submissions received, three nominations will be advanced to the board of trustees for their consideration at their March 14 board meeting. A public tree planting and site dedication is tentatively scheduled for May 4. Public improvements and site access trails will occur in the future when resources are available.
• McHenry County Conservation District protects over 25,500 acres of open space provides wildlife habitat preservation, educational opportunities and recreational amenities for the citizens of McHenry County to appreciate and enjoy. Thirty-four sites are open to the public featuring 105 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of biking trails, 23 fishing ponds, six campgrounds, four canoe launches, 40 miles of horse trails, and 21 sites with picnic shelters and a multitude of opportunities for wildlife viewing. The district also boasts 17 dedicated State Nature Preserves within its sites.