I’m kind of late to the party but reaching out to the community for feedback, guidance and assistance concerning the ongoing DNR owned OHV riding project near Harrisburg Illinois. In 2017 the Illinois Department of Natural Resources was successful in obtaining a $1.2 million grant to begin construction on a 26 mile trail system within the Sahara Woods State Recreation Area. The 4000 acre former coal producing strip mine is currently managed for hunting and fishing. The site boasts 2300 acres of open land, 1500 acres of timber and 275 acres of lakes, ponds and wetlands. This project has made progress since the grant completion but as with any State endeavor things have been slow, really slow. Obviously the Covid pandemic has been no help putting the brakes on many plans and efforts as well. I have attended a meeting with the Illinois Greenways and Trail Council to learn more about what the OHV community can expect and how to help things along. The Greenways Council is a DNR arm organization comprised of multiple user groups and DNR staff that help to shape and guide projects throughout the State as well as handle grants from Federal and State sources, particularly the Recreational Trails Program. I have also been in contact with the site supervisor at Sahara Woods who handles other State sites in the immediate area of the Shawnee National Forest. Between his helpful insight, gleanings from the Greenways meeting and a few sources within the off road community who have been involved with this from inception here is what I know; The Phase 1 bid goes out next month for construction of access roads, parking areas, restrooms, security, fencing, campground, staff service buildings needed to register guests, office needs and house equipment plus the related utilities to this infrastructure. I was told the campground will feature 10 – 50 amp service sites and 20 electric service combination sites that will accommodate tents and/or RV units. The good news from the site supervisor is the trail itself is 90% complete with only cleanup work to be done and a very loose estimated date of knobbies on the ground is summer 2022. I was exceptionally refreshed to hear from him that he is extremely open to volunteer organizations pitching in to assist operations once the facility is complete, an approved volunteer group formed, solid plans in place and Covid protocol allowance. This is where we all come into play. As a member of two AMA Recreation Commissions (Off Road/Trail and Dual Sport/Adventure) I feel it is important to show the State DNR support from the Adv Rider community. I get it. We all know quads and side by sides will make up a majority of the guests and it is 400 miles from my driveway but more importantly this endeavor can be the blueprint and catalyst for more DNR operated off road opportunities for motorcyclists down the road. Grab a State plat map sometime and you will notice the Illinois DNR owns a whole lot of property. Some of which are large tracks serving no purpose right now. The Sahara Woods site supervisor seems very motivated to see this through, let’s keep him stoked with our support. Let Google teach more about the history of Sahara Woods if you so desire. I need to give mention to some people who have helped me with all this. John Harris from Illinois A.B.A.T.E. has a few favorable relationships with State legislature and for years has been keeping this project on the DNR radar. Next is a man who AMA President Dingman himself more or less appointed to the position of Illinois off road motorcycle advocate years ago. A humble individual who likes to keep a low profile while managing the Team USA - I.S.D.E. Parc Ferme, serving on the Illinois OHV Advisory group, being the District 17 Hare Scramble Director , AMA Congress duty and in his spare time operating a little motorcycle dealership in Springfield, Jay Hall. Finally a big shout beyond the Cheddar Curtain to a certain Army Colonel retired whom everyone knows that has been an immense crutch and inspiration for how to handle this endeavor. Do realize Mr. Shot that my pestering you has only just begun. I will do my best to stay informed and pass developments along the journey.