A Corridor Plan for the Fox River in the Counties of McHenry and Lake

Oct 17, 2016

A Corridor Plan for the Fox River in the Counties of McHenry and Lake

UPDATE: The Fox River Corridor Plan was unanimously adopted by the McHenry County Board on October 16, 2018. The Plan and the Existing Conditions Overview (October 2017) are available for download below.

The Fox River is one of the region's greatest natural assets.  McHenry County Planning and Development collaborated with Lake County and local agencies, governments, and organizations to create a corridor plan for the Fox River to improve water quality, multi-modal transportation access, recreation and open space, and river-related commerce. The Plan focuses on a scenic portion of the river that extends from Burtons Bridge in the north, just north of Route 176, to the eastern boundary of Fox Bluff Conservation Area in the south.  The planning area spans eight communities, conservation areas, forest preserves, and parks over a distance of 11 miles.

This project builds on the groundwork established through the Fox River Corridor Plan for the Villages of Algonquin and Carpentersville completed in December 2015. Inspired by that project, McHenry County Planning and Development requested assistance through the Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program to develop a vision for the Fox River that extends upstream through McHenry County and a portion of Lake County. The planning process convened a diverse group of stakeholders to help neighboring communities, park districts, businesses, and residents come together to craft a common vision for the river. More specifically, the plan focuses on the following areas:

  • Multi-modal connections to/on the river

  • Open space that preserves and enhances quality of life, environmental conditions, and water quality of the river

  • Commerce aimed at users of the river

  • Attracting residents and tourists to the river and adjacent communities

  • Public access and recreational use

The planning process, developed in collaboration with McHenry County, involved four phases. The first phase involved a thorough analysis of the existing conditions within the corridor relying on information gathered from the steering committee, interviews with key stakeholders, a public meeting, an online interactive survey, review of previous plans and studies, and collection of maps and data. The second phase focused on developing a vision for the Fox River Corridor and strategies to attain that vision. The third phase involved developing the draft corridor plan that will be reviewed by the steering committee and the public. The fourth and final phase involved revising the corridor plan based on public feedback and its adoption.

Public Engagement

The planning process entailed robust stakeholder input to ensure that the end product was driven by the needs and vision of the community, including the Counties, Villages, McHenry County Conservation District, Lake County Forest Preserves, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The project steering committee, which consisted of a broad group of stakeholders, provided feedback throughout the planning process. There were also opportunities for residents, business owners, river users, and the general public to provide input on several occasions through workshops, community events, and on-line tools.


Past Activities

Public presentation to the Fox River Grove Village Board (February 2, 2019)

Public presentation to the Port Barrington Village Board (December 5, 2018)

Public presentation to the McHenry County Planning, Environment & Development Committee (October 2, 2018)

Presentation at the McHenry County Water Forum (September 12, 2018)

Public Draft Plan Open House (August 29, 2018)
A public open house for the draft Fox River Corridor Plan was held on August 29, 2018, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m., at Fox River Grove Village Hall. The open house gave attendees the opportunity to review and learn about the recommendations and strategies presented in the draft plan through poster exhibits and one-on-one conversations with County and CMAP staff, ask questions, and provide feedback. More than 40 residents, business owners, river users, Steering Committee members, and elected and appointed officials attended.

Public Visioning Workshop (September 21, 2017)
A public visioning workshop for the Fox River Corridor Plan was held on September 21, 2017, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., at Lake Barrington Village Hall. The workshop began with a summary of current conditions in the Fox River Corridor, synthesizing information gathered through public input, field observations, data, previous studies, and other sources. Workshop attendees then divided into small groups and developed ideas related to improving access and water-based recreation, flood mitigation, water quality, open space and recreation, bicycling and walking, and economic development. More than 50 residents, business owners, County staff, Steering Committee members, and elected and appointed officials attended.

MetroQuest Online Community Survey
A survey was open to the public between February 7, 2017 and March 31, 2017 and received over 260 responses. The results are being used to create the Existing Conditions report and will be included in this document.

Zoom in and click on the icons to see what was said or open the map in a new window. Survey respondents identified over 600 points on the map.

Public Kickoff Open House (March 2, 2017)
CMAP and McHenry County Planning & Development were at Cary Village Hall on March 2, 2017, between the hours of 4:30 and 7:00 p.m., to introduce the public to the planning process, receive input on priorities, and learn about the strengths and challenges facing the Fox River Corridor. Specifically, CMAP staff led activities focused on issues related to natural resources, transportation and circulation, and businesses, tourism, and recreation in the corridor. The event used an open house format to allow attendees to learn about the project and provide input at their own pace. Over 50 residents, community leaders, and river users attended.

News Coverage


Kimberly Kolner, Senior Planner, McHenry County Planning and Development (kskolner@co.mchenry.il.us or 815.334.4555)

Kate Evasic, CMAP Project Manager (kevasic@cmap.illinois.gov or 312.386.8782)

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Fox River Corridor Plan from Burtons Bridge to Fox Bluff (October 2018) (Full Resolution)

Fox River Corridor Plan from Burtons Bridge to Fox Bluff (October 2018) (Low Resolution)

Fox River Corridor Plan Overview

Fox River Corridor Existing Conditions Overview (October 2017)

Fox River Corridor Vulnerability Assessment

Fox River Corridor Bicycle and Pedestrian Assessment