• Press Release - 03/02/2011 •
Open Space Vision Meets First Year Goal
Lake County’s alliance of open space advocates reached its first-year goal in the drive to preserve 1,000 acres annually for the next 20 years. In 2010, protected open space in Lake County grew by 1,612 acres, with the Lake County Forest Preserve District purchasing 1,588 acres and the Village of Lake Bluff protecting 24 acres. The new lands provide valuable wildlife habitat, trail connections and flood protection. Non-profit conservation groups helped to make two of the 33 transactions possible.
"I wish each year could bring the kind of results we saw in 2010," said Steve Barg, Executive Director of the Liberty Prairie Conservancy, the nonprofit that two years ago formed the alliance of 17 groups to create a unified goal. "It was an unusually productive year for open space protection in Lake County. Kudos to the Lake County Forest Preserve District for maximizing their dollars in a tight market."
The Forest Preserve District purchased land in more than one dozen locations throughout the county including Dutch Gap Forest Preserve in Antioch, Kestrel Ridge Forest Preserve in Volo, Bluebird Meadow Forest Preserve in Lake Villa, and Mill Creek Forest Preserve in Old Mill Creek. The Liberty Prairie Conservancy facilitated their purchase of 30 acres on a moraine adjacent to Almond Marsh Forest Preserve in Libertyville.
The Village of Lake Bluff partnered with Lake Bluff Open Lands Association and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission to place 24 village-owned acres in the state's Land and Water Reserve program. This connects to parcels already preserved by Lake Forest Open Lands Association and the Lake County Forest Preserves, creating a continuous block of 190 acres.
As a result, the amount of permanently protected open space in Lake County had risen at the opening of 2011 to 50,816 acres or 17 percent of the county. The group's ultimate goal is for 20 percent of the county – 60,000 acres – to be preserved.
The Liberty Prairie Conservancy is a non-profit organization that helps others to preserve and steward wildlife habitat, farmland and other open space throughout Lake County. With Lake County's population growth projected to remain intense for the next 15 years, the group works to protect the county's natural heritage and to safeguard the economic and aesthetic benefits derived from open space. For more information visit www.libertyprairie.org.