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Scott park offers breath of fresh air

Dispatch/Argus Photo By John Kim

The 1,250-acre Scott County Park in Long Grove has four campsites, 18-hole PGA golfcourse and Olympic-sized swimming pool, as well as basketball, softball, baseball and volleyball courts, horseback and bike trails and lots of wildlife.

LONG GROVE -- With 1,250 acres of landscape, Scott County Park in Long Grove gives people a chance to commune with nature and experience the great outdoors in different ways.

Ric Bishop, park ranger, estimates as many as half a million visitors make the park one of their yearly destinations.

``We have four campgrounds and 200 campsites that give individuals a full range of facilities,'' Mr. Bishop said.

Those wanting to rough it can use some of the more primitive campsites, while those who desire a more comfortable camping experience can use running water and electricity that is provided.

Scott County Park also has the sportsman in mind, keeping a well-maintained 18-hole PGA golf course as well as an Olympic-size swimming pool.

``There are many outdoor activities that can be enjoyed at the park throughout the year,'' Mr. Bishop said. Basketball courts, baseball and softball diamonds, a sand volleyball court as well as fishing, a petting zoo, playground equipment and nature center were mentioned.

``All of these attractions make it a popular gathering place for both family and friends,'' Mr. Bishop said.

Glynns Creek nature trail also gets a lot of ``foot traffic'' throughout the changing seasons.

Mr. Bishop said during summer months, people can ride the three-mile trail on horseback or mountain bike, or walk. The winter months turn the trail into a popular path used for cross-county skiers. Ice skating and sledding also are popular.

Along with the many activities that can be found throughout the park, it also has several picnic areas and six sheltered pavilions -- making it a popular site for get-togethers and family reunions.

On the north end of Scott County Park is historic Walnut Grove Pioneer Village, a recreation of a Midwestern village of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Eighteen historic buildings are on the site and the village is host to several annual events, including Heritage Days, Olde St. Anne's Reunion, a Civil War re-enactment and Christmas Walk.

Although no new activities are planned in the near future, Mr. Bishop said maintenance and enhancement projects will be completed.

``In the spring, we'll start working on resurfacing the nature trail as well as beginning to paint several of the buildings that we have on the grounds.'' Noting that maintaining the park is an ongoing process, Mr. Bishop said that just keeping the grounds mowed is a major project.

The park also supports its share of wildlife. ``Songbirds, wild pheasants, white-tailed deer, coyote, and foxes are among the staples in our park,'' Mr. Bishop said.

Although the park has a controlled hunt to keep the deer population in check, he said a re-evaluation process is underway and that, for now, the problem of deer overcrowding in the park is under control.

Scott County Park allows a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and a well-deserved breath of fresh air.

-- By Elizabeth Trego (February 2, 1998)

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