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President's Letter: A Big 2015 for the Preserves

As the year comes to a close, I’d like to thank everyone who supported the Forest Preserves in 2014. Whether you sweated to remove buckthorn from your favorite preserve, purchased a picnic permit, commented at an open house or joined a naturalist on a birding hike, we’re grateful to you for your participation.

In 2014, we launched our Next Century Conservation Plan, worked to restore and manage thousands of acres of prairie and woodland, opened a new boathouse at Busse Reservoir, hosted hundreds of new events and much, much more.

But 2015 promises to be our biggest year yet. In this final year of our centennial celebration, you’ll see capital improvements ranging from 20 new miles of trail to a high-ropes canopy tour at Bemis Woods. We’ll release our Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan, which will guide our habitat restoration and archaeological preservation efforts into the future. We’ll be continuing forward with the vigorous implementation of the Next Century Conservation Plan. And we’ll be bringing family camping back to the forest preserves for the first time in more than half a century.

There are many more exciting events in store for 2015, including a county-wide weekend festival featuring 100 events for our 100 years—mark your calendar for September 25-27. We hope to see you then and throughout 2015 in your Forest Preserves of Cook County. Happy New Year!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County