Lake County, Illinois, is a great place to live, work and raise a family. It's home to 700,000 people living in over 50 diverse communities with Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses in historic downtowns. There are wide open spaces, lakes, prairies, parks, and farms, amidst rural hometowns and proud cities.
Lake County also has the richest diversity of native species in the state of Illinois and supports more state-threatened and endangered species than any other county. One of the reasons for this surprising diversity is that the geography and geology have led to an eclectic assortment of ecosystems. Lake County is on the shore of one of the planet's largest freshwater lakes. It's at the western edge of the continent's eastern deciduous forest and the eastern edge of the tallgrass prairie. Plus, it has an abundance of wonderful lakes and wetlands. As a result, river otters, American lotus, sandhill cranes, Blanding's turtles, snowy egrets, bladderwort and many, many more species make their homes among us.
Our county's rich natural resources are also the legacy of the many people and organizations who have worked to protect them. Since the founding of the Lake County Forest Preserve District in 1958, the District has preserved over 29,000 acres of open land, carried out extensive restoration of habitats, and built an excellent trail system. Local conservation groups and other agencies have contributed to their communities' well-being through land preservation, restoration, and education. Families and individuals have volunteered, advocated, and gardened for wildlife.
Lake County also has a fine model of cooperative land conservation in central Lake County between Libertyville, Grayslake, and Gurnee – the Liberty Prairie Reserve. Here, private individuals and organizations as well as public agencies and municipalities have worked together to preserve over 3,300 acres of rural landscape, build an extensive trail network, restore native habitats, and cultivate a growing variety of local farming and food businesses.
Lake County is our home, and keeping nature healthy is essential to keeping it a great place to live. We're doing our part by helping people in Lake County to value nature and to preserve and steward their land. We hope you'll join us.