There are forest preserves in the Salt Creek District that lack improved trails. These forest preserves are locked in by busy roadways, making access to them difficult for bicyclists and hikers. I suggest two trails be added to the Cook County Forest Preserve District’s paved trail system in the general area of the Brookfield Zoo.

In the expansive forest preserves adjacent to First Avenue in Riverside, North Riverside, Brookfield and Lyons there are no paved trails for public use. From Ogden Avenue north to 26th Street for nearly two miles a trail has been envisioned by residents and officials in the area.

A north-south trail along First Avenue would serve many users, including visitors to the zoo, students, recreational bikers, hikers and more. I suggest a trail be added along west side of First Avenue from Riverside-Brookfield High School north to 26th Street.

The trail would lie on school, IDOT right-of-way, zoo and Forest Preserve District property. An extension of this trail from Ridgewood Avenue south to Ogden Avenue is envisioned.

A second trail along 31st Street from the Desplaines River west to Prairie Avenue in Brookfield is needed to improve access to the zoo and the Salt Creek trailhead. The First Avenue and 31st Street trails would intersect, allowing bicyclists and pedestrians to move freely and safely along these busy roadways while improving access to the forest preserves, the zoo and the Salt Creek Trail.

The two interconnecting trails would provide a link between the Salt Creek trailhead west of the zoo’s north parking lot and the Salt Creek Trail in Lyons and Riverside to the south and east. This gap in the trail system is glaring and has long been a concern of area bicyclists and hikers.

The First Avenue and 31st Street trails, as suggested, are presently gaining support from residents and officials of Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside. These two trails would be a much-needed addition, allowing improved access to our local forest preserves and the zoo.

Randy Brockway