Cleaning the Great Western Trail

By Ryan Felgenhauer

Sycamore | Rain or shine, volunteers will be cleaning sections of the Great Western Trail Saturday.

In observance of Earth Day, The Friends of the Great Western Trails are holding a volunteer trail clean-up to help pick up trash on the trails. 

The Great Western Trail runs in two sections from St. Charles to Sycamore in the west and from Villa Park to West Chicago in the east. Many volunteer groups have already pledged their support to clean up the trail, several from the St Paul’s Evangelical Church of Bloomingdale and Elmhurst Bicycle Club.

“The trails are for everyone to use, they’re everyone’s responsibility to clean,” said Don Kirchenberg, voluntary chairperson of the Friends of Great Western Trails. “They’re good for the environment and quality of life.” 

Kirchenberg said that in years past, unlikely items such as truck axles and a cube of industrial cleaner have been found during volunteer clean-ups.

“It needs to be cleaned all the time,” said Bob Gilly, head of St. Paul’s Church of Bloomington’s trail volunteers. “The debris is amazing, you name it, we’ve found it on the trail,”

According to the Friends of the Great Western Trail website, to participate in this all-volunteer effort, one should find some work gloves, a few garbage bags, head over to the part of the trail nearest to them and pick up any trash they can find. It is important to remember not to leave filled garbage bags on the trail; instead bring them to the closest garbage can, or leave them on the curb for collection.

According to Google Maps, the nearest section of the Trail to DeKalb is located near the intersection of Old State Road and Ali Drive in eastern Sycamore. Kirchenberg said volunteers can show up on Saturday at any time and any part of the trail that is convenient for them.

For more information on this annual Earth Day event, visit