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Forest Preserve Offers Bike Camping Adventure in September

The Forest Preserve District of Will County is offering a 50-mile roundtrip bike camping adventure that will give participants a chance to sneak away by bike, spend two nights camping and return Sunday morning. The “Off-Leash: I&M Canal Trail Bike Ride and Overnighter” will be held from 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, through 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15.

The trip includes camping Friday night at Hickory Creek Preserve – Cleveland Road Access in Mokena, biking 25 miles Saturday, mostly along the Old Plank Road Trail and I&M Canal Trail, to McKinley Woods in Channahon. The group will enjoy a night hike, s’mores a campfire and socializing while camping along the Des Plaines River on Saturday night. Participants will bike 25 miles back to Hickory Creek Preserve on Sunday morning. Saturday breakfast/dinner and Sunday breakfast are included for campers. (Participants may choose to opt out of the Friday night camp and begin the ride Saturday morning at 10 a.m.; check-in between 8-10 a.m. Participants must be able to bike 25 miles each day over a variety of terrains.

The program is being offered in partnership with GoodSpeed Cycles. The cost is $85 per person and the all-ages program is free for children 11 and younger. For more details and to register, visit https://www.offleashovernighters.com/i-m-canal. The ride is limited to 100 bike campers.

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Forest Preserve District of Will County offers kayak safety, bug painting and campfire programs

WESLEY TOWNSHIP – Bring Your Own Boat: Kayak Skills and Safety (Advanced),” 10 a.m.-noon (session 1) and 1-3 p.m. (session 2) Saturday, Sept. 14, Rivals Lookout Park, 35149 S. Rivals Road. U.S. Canoe Association/American Canoe Association certified instructors will cover basic kayak safety on slow moving water. Participants must bring their own kayaks and personal flotation devices (PFD). All participants must wear a PFD. All other equipment will be provided. Wear clothes that can get wet and shoes that will stay on your feet. Consider bringing sunscreen, towels, a hat and a water bottle. Kayaking experience is required. Ages 18 or older; $40 per person. Register by Thursday, Sept. 12; call 815-722-9470.

CRETE TOWNSHIP – “Paint a Bug!” 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, Plum Creek Nature Center. Discover insects on a hike and then get crafty with some finger paints. This program is being held in conjunction with the “What’s Bugging Belva?” exhibit on display at the nature center from Sept. 1-Nov. 30. Free; ages 5 or older. Register by Thursday, Sept. 12, at ReconnectWithNature.org or call 708-946-2216.

CHANNAHON – “Autumnal Equinox Campfire,” 7:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Celebrate the coming of fall with other adults in a beautiful forest preserve. Activities may include a campfire, songs, stories, poetry and a night hike. Enjoy the magic of nighttime at this after-hours, adults-only experience. This event will take place rain or shine. The hike will be 1-2 miles on paved trails. Meet at the Four Rivers Shelter. Free; ages 18 or older. Register by Monday, Sept. 16, at ReconnectWithNature.org or call 815-722-9470.

For more information on Forest Preserve District programs and events, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.