For over a century, the Forest Preserve District has been acquiring land in support of its mission “to acquire and hold lands containing forests, prairies, wetlands and associated plant communities or lands capable of being restored to such natural conditions for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora, fauna and scenic beauty for the education, pleasure and recreation of its citizens.”
In the mid-1900s, undeveloped land in DuPage County was the norm and not the exception, but Forest Preserve District board members recognized early on these conditions would not hold. To guarantee future residents the benefits of a healthy balance between urban development and natural areas, they established a target ratio of 25 acres of forest preserve land for every 1,000 residents.
Today, with an estimated county population of 916,000 and nearly 26,000 acres of forest preserve prairies, woodlands and wetlands — 13 percent of the county as a whole — the Forest Preserve District has surpassed those expectations.
With a successful ratio between preserves and people and the judicious use of tax dollars more important than ever, we are now focusing our resources on improving the land already in our care. We continue to restore hundreds of acres of native habitats and offer new trails and other amenities to bring residents closer to those vibrant areas.
And as the few remaining parcels of open private land become available, we will rely even more on the questions that have guided acquisition decisions over the years.
- Does it contain high-quality natural area at risk of being lost?
- Does it connect to existing forest preserves or other open spaces?
- Would it increase operational, maintenance or personnel costs?
A conservation easement offers legal protection for a piece of land and its natural-resource value by limiting its use — all while the owner maintains possession. Many property owners have worked with the Forest Preserve District to protect hundreds of acres through conservation easements. For additional details about exploring conservation easements, contact Land Preservation at 630-933-7200.