Chief Shabbona Forest Preserve
Shabbona, IL: On Saturday, July 7 at 10:00 a ceremony will be held to dedicate the trail to former DeKalb County Trail Riders Association Vice President Frank O’Barski. In addition to members of the DeKalb County Trail Riders Association, Terry Hannan, DeKalb County Forest Preserve District Superintendent; Bob Brown, DeKalb County Forest Preserve District Committee Chairman; Tom Demmer, State Representative; Tony Troyer, 2nd Vice President of the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois; Dr. Suzanne Willis, Mr. O’Barski’s widow; representatives from several equestrian trail groups and others will be in attendance.
Frank, who also was a DeKalb County Board member from 2012 until his passing in 2016, was a strong advocate for gardening, nature and trails…especially equestrian trails. He told fond stories of riding the beach on a favored horse out in San Francisco a few years before relocating to DeKalb to marry his soulmate, Dr. Suzanne Willis.
Frank was instrumental in helping found the DeKalb County Trail Riders Association (DCTRA), an equestrian trail advocacy group in 2011, when the need for more multiuse equestrian trails in DeKalb County was identified. He and other interested equestrians worked on regaining the multiuse trail in Chief Shabbona Forest Preserve, at the southern end of DeKalb County and the group continues its work on acquiring multiuse equestrian trails in the1500 acre Shabbona Lake State Park, which adjoins Chief Shabbona Forest Preserve.
Horseback riding is now permitted on the trail when it is dry enough. The park can handle up to 3 trailers. Horses can always be ridden on the gravel road, but check out the signs at each end of the trail head and it will indicate if riding is permitted or not. Everyone needs to be respectful of this opportunity we have, after 3 years of being shut off the trail, to keep our access. STAY ON THE TRAIL and if you encounter a wet area, do NOT go off the trail and go around - simply turn around and go back...it is too wet. We have received permission to help with the maintenance of the trail so if you encounter problems please note that on our Facebook page.