This past Saturday Amanda and I had a chance to check out BREC’s newest park, the Frenchtown Road Conservation Area, which is the biggest conservation area in the system at 495 acres. It encompasses most of the land between the Amite and Comite Rivers, south of the Illinois Central Railroad. Currently there are a little over three miles of hiking trails on the property through mostly bottomland hardwood forest.
These trails are just the beginning of the park’s intended development. I’m hopeful that established kayak/canoe launches are in the master plan, as it sits now the only river access that is available is via a 0.7 mile railroad trail to a beach on the Amite River at the park’s NE corner. Any new access to our area’s scenic rivers is a good thing, but it looks like I’ll have to invest in a cart before I can give this stretch of water a proper go. I did manage to get a few mid-hike casts off from the beach and was rewarded with a little spotted bass for my efforts.
It was a nice day for a hike and I look forward to using this area more in the future. There was a little confusion on the trails though. Seems a nearby property owner was not too pleased at the location of the big loop trail in the park and “No Trespassing” signs were placed toward the end of the trail turning this loop into a long one way. According to the park’s facebook page it sounds like a bypass trail has been added and the area can be avoided. You’d think they would figure these things out before opening the park, but live and learn I guess.