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Big Island Soil & Water Preservation Association

                   Connecting Communities, Conservation and Amenities



With the support of our members and many volunteers over the years, the Big Island Soil and Water Preservation Association (BISAWPA) has seen much success and has now met its goals. At the quarterly meeting on May 5, 2020, BISAWPA board members -- by unanimous vote -- approved the dissolution of the BISAWPA 501(c)(3) Public Charity Corporation.

Although BISAWPA has been dissolved, you are invited to volunteer to protect, preserve, and beautify Big Island's natural resources and recreational attributes. There is much work yet to be done. We have many projects planned. And we will continue to work with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in further improving and adding amenities to the Hennepin Canal State Park. No grass will be growing under our feet!

With warmest appreciation,

Randy Wlaskolich, President/Treasurer

Dean Mathias, Vice President

Barb Wlaskolich, Secretary

Jeanie Chapman, Director

Steve Kane, Director

Note: Our website will remain active until December 2020. Please continue to use and promote Big Island as a wonderful and beautiful natural and recreational resource for our area!

Welcome to Big Island, Illinois

Big Island is an oasis for outdoor activities and is conveniently located within the Quad Cities

Big Island is also defined by the historic Hennepin Canal and the Hennepin Parkway. So many of the distinctive features of the island are free and open to the public to enjoy.

Big Island is located at the delta of the Rock River where it empties into the Mississippi River near Milan, Illinois. Once the biggest island on the Rock River it was suitably named Big Island. However it is not surrounded by water any longer. This change occurred when the slough that previously defined Big Island was filled in to make room for a highway system that now transverses the island. However, these geographical distinctions don't take away from the "island feel" of Big Island. It is indeed an oasis of abundant wildlife that is easily enjoyed by anyone who care take a short drive off the 'blue bridges' at Highway 67 and enter into a place where blue herons fish in shallow waters and water is the predominant feature.  

Being situated next to the scenic and user-friendly Hennepin Canal is one of Milan’s most valuable assets. It draws visitors to the region which brings many economic benefits. The paved and rustic trails, canal, and picnic shelter help to make this area a great place to live, work, and play! The more we can promote and increase the visibility of this backyard treasure, the more our businesses and community will benefit.

Randy Wlaskolich, BISAWPA President

Discover the beauty of Big Island on the Mississippi River through the virtual tour above.

Trail Map Available!

Click below to get up-to-date bike trail maps from Ride Illinois and discover a network of trails that link to Big Island and beyond.

For up-to-date trail info in the Quad Cities area, go to

Get the latest