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President's Letter: Enjoy Biking Forest Preserves Trails, Learning About Local Wildlife

Did you know the Forest Preserves of Cook County offers more than 300 miles of marked trails? Weaving through and around beautiful natural areas, these trails enable Forest Preserves visitors to fully immerse themselves in Cook County’s diverse nature.

To help visitors explore our trails and connect to nature, the Forest Preserves recently expanded our bikeshare program by integrating dockless bikeshare technology. In partnership with Bike and Roll and HOPR, the Forest Preserves is increasing the number of bicycles from 50 to 500 available at 50 dockless bicycle hubs throughout our 70,000 acres.

In this issue of the Forest Way, readers will learn about two Resource Management programs: heron rookery banding and walleye propagation. Part of the mission of the Forest Preserves’ Fisheries Division is to provide recreational fishing opportunities for the public. One way our biologists achieve this is by supplementing regular stockings with the propagation program.

To better understand the health of herons, wildlife biologists make annual visits to the Baker’s Lake heron rookery, where they draw blood samples and tag birds. This work helps inform decisions about conservation efforts, as well as providing a greater understanding of the birds’ health and potential impacts to human health.

Finally, this issue includes information about a recent panel hosted by the Forest Preserve Foundation, and how the organization’s support benefits youth participants in programs like Conservation Corps. Be sure to check out this Daily Southtown story about this year’s Forest Preserve Experience, a Conservation Corps program hosted by the Forest Preserves in partnership with Friends of the Forest Preserves and the Housing Authority of Cook County.

We hope to see you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle
President, Forest Preserves of Cook County