Aurora West Forest Preserve was part of the historical “Sugar Grove” in the early years of Kane County. Much of the land was plowed for row crop agriculture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but some timber was left standing. The majority of the area remained in agriculture until the District purchased the initial section of the forest preserve in 1977.
The Kane County Department of Environmental Management has worked extensively on a stormwater retention project at Aurora West. In conjunction with the county’s project, the District’s restoration efforts have involved restoring hydrology, recreating wetlands, reintroducing prairie plants, and removing invasive vegetation. There is an active volunteer stewardship program here, offering many opportunities for citizens to get involved in habitat restoration.
As an ecological mosaic of prairie, marsh, and woodland communities, this preserve supports a host of native animals. Visitors can see migrating shorebirds, grassland birds, raptors, and waterfowl. Mammals such as beaver and muskrats reside along the creek. Dragonflies patrol the wetlands in and butterflies float on the summer breezes above the prairie wildflowers.
A multi-purpose trail traverses the preserve, and a footpath winds through the woods and fields.
There is a model airplane field to the north of parking lot.
The preserve is designated as an off-leash dog area, but a portion of the preserve is off-limits for dogs.
This restricted use area is set aside for wildlife habitat protection. Please follow all Rules and Regulations
regarding use of these areas.
Aurora West is located between Galena Boulevard and Rt. 56 on Hankes Road in Aurora.