Visionary leaders a century ago realized how important it was to set aside natural, open space to be enjoyed by everyone. Though our county has grown into one of the densest urban areas in the country, we are never more than a short trip away from nature. We are benefactors of what has grown into 69,000 acres of land containing some of the most diverse plant and wildlife species in North America.
I have spent a lot time over the years learning about the prairies, wetlands, savannas and forest habitats that surround us. Each time I enjoy an activity with my grandchildren surrounded by nature, it is clear we have a responsibility not to squander this rich inheritance, especially for future generations.
Our recently released Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan was created to guide our ecological restoration and archaeological preservation efforts into the next century. This document provides an assessment of the preserves and the framework needed to implement our ambitious goals of restoring 30,000 acres of land in 25 years.
I want to thank the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois for developing this comprehensive plan in partnership with the Forest Preserves of Cook County. PRI is a leading organization with researchers from multiple disciplines who work to promote natural and cultural resource sustainability. Their skills and perspective have helped us realize these first steps and I look forward to our ongoing partnership.
Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County