Missing link sought

Roeker Trail Field Guide would be invaluable

By Donna Lenz Wright/The Week

(Published Jan. 26, 2007, 9:38 a.m.)

Roeker Trail, a one-quarter-mile side trail of the two-mile Duck Lake Nature Trail, also referred to as Warbler Walkway, on the southern shores of Lake Como, is in suspended existence until an original field guide can be located.

There's a bump in the trail, so to speak.

Without a copy of the original field guide--if one exists-the 12 stations originally created by Ernest Roeker, a well--known local educator, Scout leader and original Geneva Township Park Commission member who passed away in 1984, cannot be recreated.

The commission believes a field guide does or did exist because Roeker created a detailed field guide for the Duck Lake Nature Trail.

Over the years, nature's growth has hidden many of Roeker's stations, pinpointed for their special views of wildlife, wildflowers and native plants and trees.

"For 15 years after (Roeker) passed away, it seems like the park commission dissolved without motivation and leadership," said Terri Sundberg, Geneva Township Park Commission member.

"Then in 1996 the new park commission was reestablished and this was one of their focus areas. The main trail has been restored and now we're working on the Roeker Trail."

The trail was the original path of the Chicago/Northwestern railway between Williams Bay and Lake Geneva. It can be accessed by following the new signage at the end of Grandview Road in Williams Bay.

"The Roeker Trail has a lot of wildflowers, especially in the spring," Sundberg said. "It goes off into the woods, across a little riverbed, through woodlands, wetlands and a hardwood forest, then back onto the main trail."

Because the original guidebook created by Roeker in 1978 for the Duck Lake Nature Trail was located, all 20 stations on that trail have been reestablished.

"We put in some new sign posts and made a new manual available at Wild Birds Unlimited," she said. Wild Birds Unlimited is located at 812 Geneva St. in Lake Geneva.

"We believe there was documentation (for the Roeker Trail), so we're putting out pleas to see if anyone happens to have an old trail guide/field guide for this trail."

Anyone with a copy of the original field guide or information on the subject is encouraged to contact Sundberg at 245-9885.

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