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Open house for Fox Bluff plan set

The recreation hall at the former Camp Algonquin site would be expanded under a proposed plan.

The final draft, which lays out a vision for the Fox Bluff Conservation Area, went live on the McHenry County Conservation District's website ahead of an open house scheduled for 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park.

An online public comment period will follow on Friday and run through Aug. 2 before the board of trustees weighs in at its Sept. 19 meeting.

The final draft is similar to the preferred plan presented to the public in February, conservation district spokeswoman Wendy Kummerer said. Staff also prepared three alternative plans.

All the plans proposed providing kayak and canoe access at the Fox River along with a paved trail leading to a pier, recognizing the Gillilan farmstead as a historical area, developing a pedestrian trail system, and incorporating some elements from the historical original plan for the 20 acres that make up Camp Algonquin.

That plan, dated February 1911, was designed by the well-regarded landscape architect Jens Jenson. It included a council ring, trails, a garden and native landscaping, all of which the final draft proposes incorporating.

A new addition to the plan is coordination with the McHenry County Historical Society to preserve historical artifacts and one of the buildings, a small counselors cabin built in the 1950s, said Kurt Begalka, the society's administrator.

Under the plan, the other buildings – a collection of buildings dating to the early 1900s from a variety of different camps at the site over the years – would be demolished. Salvaged material would be used to create new shelters and trellis structures.

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