The Dean Nature Sanctuary walking trails connect with the DuPage County Regional Bikeway trails and also to the Cook County Trails at the Bemis Woods Trails underpass of the IL Toll Road 294, near the eastern property line of the Dean Nature Sanctuary.
The Dean Nature Sanctuary is located on the Salt Creek, a major tributary to the Des Plaines River watershed, and is part of the Salt Creek Greenway Trail. The Salt Creek Greenway Trail is designated as a priority greenway in the Northeastern Illinois Regional Greenways Plan and extends through 9 communities with a combined population exceeding 300,000 residents. The Salt Creek originated some 15,000 years ago from the melt waters of the Wisconsin glaciers. Pre-historic Native Americans roamed the region over 10,000 years ago leaving archaeological finds of arrows and Clovis points. More recently, the Pottawatomi occupied the lands around the watershed and used the creek for fishing and as a transportation route. Although it is called a creek, Salt Creek can technically be classified as a river. A hundred years ago, maps identified the creek as the “Little Des Plaines.” Today it runs some 40 miles connecting Cook and DuPage Counties before joining the Des Plaines River in the Brookfield/Riverside Area. It is one of the most historic, scenic and significant greenways in our region with connections to more than 178 miles of trails in northeastern IL.
To protect this diversity, the Dean Nature Sanctuary will forever be a “passive park” – meaning the property will not house athletic fields, traditional playgrounds, or recreational facilities.