Byron prepares for sledding season by offering free sleds

Local News

BYRON, Ill. (WTVO) — While the area has not seen too much snow yet this winter, rest assured, it is coming.

The Byron Forest Preserve is getting ready for sledding season, and the department is making sure that everyone can have some fun on the hill with a new community resource for local families that should allow more people to get in on the action.

“This is a nice, very family-friendly sledding hill, and it’s just a really good location for designated sledding when we have the snow,” said Mark Herman, Education Superintendent for the Byron Forest Preserve.

Some popular winter equipment will soon be made available to families, free of charge, at the Byron Forest Preserve. They are teaming with the local Rotary Club to create a community “sled shed” near the Jarrett Prairie Center, 7993 N River Rd.

“Some people have kids that have grown up, or maybe they got a new sled or they have a better one, or they have a plastic sled they don’t use anymore,” Herman said. “They can drop it off and put it at the shed, or just leave it here for people to use later on.”

The Rotary Club raised roughly $2,000 to pay for the building materials, and volunteers with the Forest Preserve are working on the construction.

“We have a Wednesday morning retired woodworkers group that does these community projects, so we’ve done things for schools and libraries and things like that, and this is just another example of them finding another woodworking project that they can help the community, and be able to build it and save a lot of money, so we actually build it with some really good carpenters,” Herman said.

Rotary Club members said that supply chain shortages and increased popularity for outdoor recreation meant some Byron families were hard pressed to find sleds last winter. The hope for this project is to ensure that everyone who wants to can enjoy the hill.

“It’s just a nice community thing, because I imagine there are people that don’t have sleds of their own, and when they come out here they want to have something to use, or they might have many, many kids and not enough sleds for everyone to go at the same time,” Herman said.

The Rotary Club is looking for donations to stock the shed before the first big snowfall. New and lightly used sleds and saucers can be dropped off beginning Wednesday at the Byron Public Library, 100 S. Washington St., or at the Dickerson Nieman-Floski Law Office Building at 220 W. Third St.

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