The Byron Forest Preserve has hundreds of acres of prairie and woodlands for all to appreciate. The landscape provides an opportunity to see how most of Illinois looked hundreds of years ago. Enjoy hiking trails, picnic shelters, an observatory, seeing rare and endangered prairie plants, and much more! The Jarrett Prairie Center has interpretive exhibits, educational programs, and a gift shop.
Winter Fun for everyone
During the winter months, we rent skis, sleds, and snowshoes for your enjoyment. Rentals available during normal Jarrett Prairie Center business hours. The fee is $2/hour. Call 815-234-8535 ext 200 for more information. Also, enjoy our sled hill during the snowy season. It's located behind the Jarrett Center.
04/15/2020 UPDATE: Byron's forest preserve trails are open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just below is information on the forest preserve's newly published trail map.
Byron Forest Preserve District’s 40th Anniversary Preserve Guides & Trail Maps
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of their organization’s founding, the Byron Forest Preserve District has developed its first-ever Preserve Guide and Trail Maps for all of the preserve sites and facilities in the District. The new preserve guide features a road map of District boundaries with the locations of the District’s nine different preserves, golf course, and other indoor facilities on the front side. The backside shows detailed individual preserve maps, trail guides, special preserve features, and other information needed to enjoy the outdoors.
When and where to obtain the guides
The free Preserve Guides and Trail Maps are available for people to pick up starting Monday, April 20 at 8:00 a.m. from an outdoor box located in front of the Jarrett Prairie Center. Jarrett is located at 7993 North River Road in Byron. The interior of the building is currently still closed due to the COVID-19 virus.
It was a nearly 2-year process
“We had wanted to have a big promotional effort and have the maps available to be distributed to the Byron and Oregon Chambers of Commerce, Byron Public Library, Oregon Public Library, Julia Hull Public Library, Byron Park District, Oregon Park District, Blackhawk Waterways CVB, and our Jarrett Prairie Center and PrairieView Golf Club,” said Mark Herman, Superintendent of Education, “but with the COVID-19 shelter in place restrictions, we wanted to get these maps out as soon as possible, so that people can use our preserve trails as a safe place for social distancing exercise and stress relief.”
This project has been nearly two years in the making. The District partnered with the Ogle County GIS Partnership where they researched the boundaries for over 2,100 acres of preserve land. During the summer of 2019, GIS Technician, Jodi Heitkamp walked nearly 36 miles of Byron Forest Preserve District trails with a GPS device to plot the trails' exact locations and distances. This information was then sent to Assistant Superintendent of Education, Janet Dahlberg, who spent many hours color-coding individual trail routes, adding facility features, amenities, dog walking locations, and descriptions of the individual preserves habitat types, plants, and wildlife.
The result is a quality fold-up pocket map that will increase the use of some of the District's lesser-known preserve sites for both local residents as well as for tourists and nature enthusiasts from outside of the area.
The next part of the 40th-anniversary project is to produce individual trail maps for each preserve site and to put up trail junction directional signs at some complex trail intersections to help hikers and runners better enjoy their outdoor experience.