Forest Preserves

Two large forest preserves lie within the corporate boundaries of the Village of Homer Glen. Scroll down for basic information about each location or visit the Forest Preserve District of Will County website for more details. The Forest Preserve District can be reached at 815-727-8700 if you have any questions or comments.

Spring Creek Greenway
Messenger Woods Nature Preserve
Messenger Woods is located on Bruce Road (175th Street) north of Route 6 (Southwest Highway) west of Parker Road and east of Cedar Road in Homer Glen. There are 2 pavilions at this location.

Homer Trails

Homer Trails' 154 acres are located on South Bell Road about 1-quarter mile south of 159th Street (Route 7) in Homer Glen.
Tree
About Meetings
Each meeting will offer an opportunity for the public to obtain information, ask questions and provide comment. Comments may also be made via the District's website by visiting Reconnect With Nature.org.

Problem
High density levels of white-tailed deer in many of the District's preserves are damaging the health and well-being of our forests. Overbrowsing by deer over the last decade has become quite noticeable, and if left unmanaged will result in rapid and dramatic changes in these woodland areas.

Forest Preserve' Mission
The Forest Preserve' mission dedicates our agency to the protection and conservation of the natural heritage of Will County. Currently, however, the balance and sustainability of our natural areas are being threatened by the impact of abundant deer populations.

Overbrowsing
Overbrowsing by deer not only negatively affects the vegetation within our natural areas, but also the availability of food sources for wildlife, threatening the well-being of the deer themselves as well as other animal species.

Effects
With drastic changes in the profusion and diversity of plants will come the reduction or elimination of animals that count on those plants for food and cover. Additionally, such changes in the forest floor leave gaps in the forest canopy, and advance erosion which leads to increased sedimentation in surface water and greater potential for flooding as rich top soil is washed away.

Action
Management that is proactively done to reduce the numbers of deer will allow the District to move strategically to accomplish its goal of maintaining balanced natural areas. It is also important to note that the management program initiated by the District will in no way ever pose a threat to the existence of deer in Will County.

Deer Management Options
At a recent special working session of members of the District's Board of Commissioners, District staff presented a detailed analysis of deer management options that best met the Forest Preserve's management goals and its ability to manage safely.

Public Hunting
At this meeting, members of the Board's Operations Committee supported the use of sharpshooting and public hunting as the most feasible options. The committee then directed staff to begin working on a proposed program design utilizing these options.

Effects of Not Hunting
The Forest Preserve District is at a critical juncture in regard to deer management activities. If we choose not to reduce deer herds at this time, deer will continue to negatively impact our forests and their population could grow until they cannot be sustained by the local habitat. Maintaining the health of our preserves is key.

Guidelines
In implementing a management program, the District will strictly comply to all rules and regulations mandated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Moreover, the Forest Preserve District will work to model its program after those that have had proven success by IDNR standards.

The District recognizes white-tailed deer as an important part of Will County's biodiversity, and in taking these measures seeks to secure the health of the deer as well as maintain sustainable natural areas for all plant and animal species.