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Amowa Forest Preserve

a map of the new Amowa Forest Preserve
Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission
a map of the new Amowa Forest Preserve

After months of research and discussion, the newest nature preserve in Rock Island County has a name. Last week, the Forest Preserve Commission announced it'll be called the "Amowa Forest Preserve."

Forest Preserve Commission President Kai Swanson says it covers 180-acres, just to the north and west of the I-88 and I-80 interchange, and east of the former Quad City Downs.

In consultation with the Sauk Nation in Oklahoma, the name was chosen because "Amowa" means "bee."

"Part of the reason for that name rising to the top from all of the others is that the district staff, the professional staff, have done a wonderful job of preparing and restoring ecosystems that have brought back to Rock Island County two very threatened, in fact endangered, species of bees - the American Bumble Bee and the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee."

He says there were a couple of forest preserves in Rock Island County with Native American names already, and the commission wanted to choose another to honor this area's heritage.

Plans now call for very few improvements - just some parking lots, and trails made in cooperation with River Action, Living Lands and Waters, and the Friends of Off-Road Cycling.

"And they've helped immensely in our other preserves in making trails that are useful, and safely useful, for hikers and off-road bikers."

More than 100 possible names were submitted, including many Native American names.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.