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Press Release: Forest Preserves of Cook County Opens New Interpretive Trail

Four interpretive nodes celebrate restoration at Deer Grove East

The Forest Preserves of Cook County, in partnership with Chicago-based Openlands, celebrated the opening of a new interpretative trail at Deer Grove East Forest Preserve with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, September 29, 2018. New interpretative elements, such as signage and seating, were installed at four locations with in the forest preserve, each drawing the visitor’s attention to different basic nature themes: land, sky, and water.

“The Deer Grove East interpretative installations are meant to foster a sense of wonder for the Forest Preserves and nature as visitors use this site for walking, hiking, and biking,” said Arnold Randall, General Superintendent for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. “These interpretative nodes can help visitors understand that our relationship with nature requires balance, and they can help us become more in tune with the beautiful nature we encounter on the trail.”

“The amazing restoration project that you see here is the multi-year effort of the Forest Preserves of Cook County and Openlands to restore the wetlands that were here and a functioning part of this landscape for thousands of years,” said Jerry Adelmann, Openlands President & CEO. “Deer Grove East encompasses no fewer than six distinct habitats such as oak woodland and savanna, wetlands, and open water to name several. You’ll see and experience them all as you take a walk around the site.”

The four interpretative areas were installed along the forest preserve’s 2.8-mile paved trail. They each offer seating and rest areas away from the traffic of the main trail system. Design of the interpretative elements was funded by Openlands.

Since 2008, the Forest Preserves of Cook County and Openlands have partnered to restore Deer Grove East. Restoration of native ecosystems is a way to both provide habitat for plant and animal species, while also creating open spaces that help bolster local recreation and manage stormwaters naturally. Over 1,400 acres of wetland, prairie, and oak savanna habitats have been restored through the project. In 2017, portions of the forest preserve were enrolled as a land and water reserve in the Illinois Nature Preserve system, providing additional conservation protections and denoting the high-quality ecological restoration.

Site and event photos available on request.


About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.