TISKILWA — Nearly four years after flooding caused the closing of several sections of Hennepin Canal Parkway State Trail, all but one section has been resurfaced and reopened.
Although a contractor was needed for some of the work, Illinois Department of Natural Resources staff took care of fixing the final section of the canal trail east of Tiskilwa that had been overtopped in the floods of 2008 and 2009. That last section was at Bureau between Lock 2 and Lock 3, and prior to that, crews fixed the trail and refilled undercut sections of levee west of Lock 3 and east of Tiskilwa.
The “Trail Closed” signs are gone from everywhere on the canal except for a 4.8-mile section from Lock 26 eight miles west of Geneseo westward to Interstate 80 at the Quad Cities, according to Dave Hahne, site superintendent based at the park office at Sheffield.
Therefore, the trail is open to bicyclists and hikers.
TheHennepinCanaltrail will not open to snowmobiles until after there is 6 inches of frost, with 4 inches of snow on top. So, it’s possible for the trail to receive a lot of snow but not be open to snowmobiles, because the solid frost is needed in order to prevent damage to the trail.
Hahne added that the canal trail is not opened for snowmobiles unless all of the miles of the canal trail including the feeder has the required frost and snow.
“We don’t open just sections,” he said.
If necessary in winter, the state posts signs at popular access points such as Bureau, Lock 11 northwest of Tiskilwa, Bridge 15, Route 40 (Bridge 45), Lock 22 at Mineral, etc.