Wed September 13, 2023

The Round Lake Area Park District is being recognized by the Illinois Association of Park Districts as one of the 2023 Best of the Best for its partnership with the Huebner Fishery Management Foundation. 
The Park District and the Huebner Foundation will be honored along with other winners at the 2023 Best of the Best Awards Gala Friday, Oct. 20. 
The efforts of the Huebner Fishery Management Foundation, in coordination with the Round Lake Area Park District, have created educational opportunities, recreational programs, additional parks, conservation efforts, and positive environmental impact that benefits the entire Round Lake area.  
The Foundation was created in 2009 after the passing of John Huebner, a longtime resident of Round Lake who advocated for fishing, recreation, and conservation. 
With support from the Foundation, the Park District was able to purchase two lakefront properties to provide Round Lake area residents greater public access onto Round Lake. The first property would become John Huebner Jr. Park in 2010. This park has a beautiful natural area overlooking the channel, and fishing bridge over the lagoon.  
The second property purchased in 2015 would become Huebner Shores Park. In 2017 a fishing pier and accessible kayak launch were added to Huebner Shores Park. The fishing pier and kayak launch allow for greater programming options as well as free community use. Huebner Shores Park also has a picnic shelter. In 2023 a kiosk was added for easy rentals of kayaks, tandem kayaks, or stand-up paddle boards. Huebner Shores Park has become a fishing and paddling hub for all in the Round Lake area.  
The Foundation supports free paddling programs in which both youth and adults learn how to paddle a kayak or canoe, including multi-day mini-camps. Free paddling classes also are offered to Special Recreation participants. 
In 2013, the Foundation purchased a pontoon boat, which the Park District uses to give boat rides around Round Lake at Park District special events, as well as during programs for seniors and families. The Park District has also worked with the Village of Round Lake Beach to offer pontoon boat rides at their Mercadito Farmers Market. 
One of the Foundation’s main goals is to support fishing in the Round Lake area. The Park District, thanks to the Foundation’s support, is able to offer free fishing classes all year round – even ice fishing in the winter. Spring and summer fishing mini-camps are provided at no cost to local children, thanks to the Foundation.  
Each fall hundreds of people attend the Park District’s free Family Fishing Event at Lakefront Park in Round Lake Beach, which is sponsored by the Huebner Foundation. At this event, children are given their own fishing poles and taught to fish. Families also enjoy games to learn more about the fish population, as well as giveaways of fishing gear and a kayak. 
During the year, families also can borrow fishing poles for free from the Park District; and residents ages 16-20 can be reimbursed for a state fishing license purchase. Both these programs are possible due to the support of the Huebner Foundation. 
In this age of children spending so much time indoors and being tied to their electronic devices, fishing is a great way for families to bond and to enjoy a fun activity outside. And the Huebner Foundation makes it possible for this to be a free activity to local residents. 
The Foundation also supports the Prairie Grass Nature Museum at the Park District, both in its exhibits and in free educational classes and programs. Families can visit the museum for free. At the museum, families learn about local flora and fauna, as well as the importance of conservation efforts. Participants don’t just stay in the museum. In some special programs, a naturalist takes them outside to explore a nearby pond and woods. 
Even though the Huebner-sponsored programs are a great time, it’s not just all fun. The Foundation also works closely with the Round Lake Management Commission to stock Round Lake with fish; to clean up invasive aquatic vegetation; and to promote boat safety.  
The Foundation also sponsors annual Lake Clean Up events in which volunteers come out to help clean up areas by the lake.  These efforts support a healthy lake ecosystem balance.  
Through the assistance of the Huebner Fishery Management Foundation and John Huebner's vision, the Round Lake Area Park District is working to promote good fishing for all ages and skill levels; the achievement of a reasonable diverse fish population; and the safe enjoyment of all water recreation activities through public opportunities and education.