Portion of Allerton trails to be renamed after Area Couple during dedication ceremony

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MONTICELLO – A local couple is being recognized for their recent financial commitment to the Allerton Park and Retreat Center with trails being renamed in their honor.

Park officials and members of the public will attend the dedication on Thursday, April 21, at 4 PM near the Lost Garden Parking Lot, just east of the intersection of E 1300 North Road and Allerton Road.

The trails near that area will be officially named the Ward and Diana McDonald Family Trails after local couple Ward and Diana McDonald.

The McDonald’s gift includes a substantial bequest for the preservation of the Natural Areas at Allerton Park, along with an endowment specifically for trail maintenance. Both McDonalds are alumni of the University of Illinois and have lived along the Sangamon River between Mahomet and Seymour for most of their adult lives.

Ward McDonald says he and his wife have always been very involved in nature.

“In 1985, we acquired 200 acres of wooded upland and partially farmed bottomland, which we took out of production and put in hardwood trees: 50,000 walnuts, oaks, pecan, cypress and ash. We built a log home and lived there with our three boys who also love the outdoors.”

They continued to add acreage within a few years, and all of this land, excluding their home and immediate area, was put into a permanent conservation easement containing over three miles of trails.

Diana McDonald says they appreciate all nature, even if they cannot always be there to enjoy it.

“We can’t always own our property, but after we are gone, we want our legacy and our devotion to nature to continue. For us, Allerton best exemplifies that vision.”

Allerton Director Bruce Branham says this event will be a casual celebration of the McDonalds and highlight how their gift will impact Allerton.

More information about the event, or supporting Allerton Park, can be found on the park’s website. Further details about the McDonald's gift can be found here.

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