horizons quarterly // spring 2015

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Horizons is the quarterly publication of your Lake County Forest Preserves, featuring articles on Lake County wildlife, natural and cultural history, Forest Preserve news and projects and a calendar of programs, exhibits and events.

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  • LAKE COUNTY FOREST PRESERVES

    PRESERVATION, RESTORATION, EDUCATION AND RECREATION

    QUARTERLY spring 2015 VOLUME 24, ISSUE 2

    H O R I Z O N S

  • A MESSAGE from BOARD of COMMISSIONERSPRESIDENT

    Ann B. Maine, LincolnshireVICE PRESIDENT

    Linda Pedersen, AntiochTREASURER

    S. Michael Rummel, Lake ForestASSISTANT TREASURER

    Audrey H. Nixon, North ChicagoChuck Bartels, MundeleinCarol Calabresa, Libertyville Steve Carlson, Gurnee Bonnie Thomson Carter, InglesideMary Ross Cunningham, Waukegan Bill Durkin, Waukegan Sandra Hart, Lake BluffDiane Hewitt, WaukeganAaron Lawlor, Vernon Hills Steven W. Mandel, Highland ParkSidney Mathias, Buffalo GroveBrent Paxton, Zion Nick Sauer, Lake BarringtonCraig Taylor, Lake Zurich Tom Weber, Lake VillaJeff Werfel, GrayslakeTerry Wilke, Round Lake BeachEXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    Ty Kovach

    HORIZONS VOLUME 24, ISSUE 2 Spring 2015

    EDITOR Kara Martin kmartin@LCFPD.org

    PHOTOGRAPHY Robert Chu, Jim & Joan Sayre, Pat Wadecki, Chip Williams

    SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES HOTLINE: 8479683335

    ANN B. MAINE PRESIDENT LAKE COUNTY FOREST PRESERVES

    LAKE COUNTY FOREST PRESERVES

    more than 30,100 acres are protected by the lake county forest preserves.

    12

    Photo and videos are periodically taken of people participating in Forest Preserve Dis-trict programs and activities. All persons reg-istering for Forest Preserve District programs/activities or using Forest Preserve property thereby agree that any photo or video taken by the Forest Preserve District may be used by the District for promotional purposes including its website, promotional videos, brochures, fliers and other publications with-out additional, prior notice or permission and without compensation to the participant.

    This year marks a new milestone in our efforts as we bridge the gap in the 31-mile Des Plaines River Trail (DPRT), thanks to a small land purchase approved at the Boards July 2014 meeting. This date, coincidentally, was the 50th anniversary of a resolution the Board passed to first create this pathway. Forward-thinking planners from partnering agencies and communities throughout Lake County have been working together for decades to build and sustain vital trail corridors for bike and pedestrian travel. Our collaborative efforts have been fueled by the publics passion for expanded healthy living and eco-friendly travel alternatives to and through the county. Today, we offer 182 miles of trails within our preserves.

    The DPRT is the crown jewel in a greater network of regional trails. From it stems several other county and regional trail systems, including the Casey Trail and Greenway, the North Shore Bike Path, the McClory Trail, and the Millennium Trail. Completing this small break in the DPRT will allow it to span the entire length of Lake County, from Russell Road just south of the Wisconsin border to Lake Cook Road, as it runs through 12 forest preserves and connects to the Cook County Forest Preserve trail system south of Lake Cook Road.

    This vision for a countywide trail and greenway following the rivers edge has been in the making for 57 years, since the founding of our agency. Inspired by the type of foresight exemplified in building this trail, we began a strategic planning process in early 2013. Out of this process grew our 100-year Vision for Lake County. This Vision is designed to guide future decisions and ensure a healthy landscape that benefits our communities and the local economy for the long term. Changing Lake Countys natural landscape will take generationsjust consider how long it takes for an oak tree to grow to maturitythats why we focused on 100 years.

    From the start of our strategic planning process, we looked for ways to harmonize our vision and goals with those of other community partners in order to expand our reach. We realized our efforts were interwoven with many other county stakeholders and we believed that we could do more for the residents of Lake County through collaboration.

    Taking that belief a step further, we convened a group of county stakeholders to help answer the larger question: What makes Lake County special? What does living, working and playing here mean to us, to residents, businesses and visitors? This launched us down a path to tell our collective story, with a new initiative called Lake County Life. Its our gift to all of our communi-tiesits pride of ownership in all that makes Lake County a special place to live, work and play. Learn more at lakecountylife.org.

    On the cover: Des Plaines River Trail

    42 13

  • LAKE COUNTY FOREST PRESERVES 1

    A VISION COMPLETEThe Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway

    Welcome to the Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway, a chain of forest preserves connected by a 31-mile trail spanning the entire length of Lake County. With the Des Plaines River serving as a backbone and its valley providing nearly 10,000 acres of contiguous, lush open space, this trail and greenway is the crown jewel of your Forest Preserves system. Last summer, a 4.4-acre addition to Ryerson Woods (Riverwoods) was acquired, allowing

    for the completion of the final section of the Des Plaines River Trail (DPRT). This fulfills a

    vision 57 years in the making. Soon hikers and bikers will be able to travel the trail from just

    south of Russell Road near the Wisconsin border all the way to Lake Cook Road, where

    it connects with the Cook County Forest Preserve trail system. Trail engineering has begun,

    and construction is anticipated to begin this summer.

    31MILES

    of trail

    10,000nearly

    OF GREENWAY

    ACRES

  • 2 HORIZONS QUARTERLY SPRING 2015

    FOREST PRESERVE

    DES PLAINES RIVER TRAIL Planned section

    GRAND ILLINOIS TRAIL Planned (Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources)

    MIDDLEFORK GREENWAY Planned

    MILLENNIUM TRAIL Planned section

    FORT HILL TRAIL Planned (L.C. Division of Transportation)

    MCCLORY TRAIL/ NORTH SHORE PATH (L.C. Division of Transportation)

    HORIZONSLAKE COUNTY FOREST PRESERVES

    PRESERVATION, RESTORATION, EDUCATION AND RECREATION

    QUARTERLY summer 2011VOLUME 20, ISSUE 2

    Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway The DPRT is one of our best examples of the value of long-term planning. Acquiring land along the Des Plaines River has been a top priority since our founding as a Forest Preserve District in 1958, as evidenced by our first land purchase150 acres at what is now Van Patten Woods (Wadsworth). After hundreds of acquisitions over the course of more than five decades, ranging from fractions of a hectare to hundreds of acres, this trail and greenway protects land along roughly 85 percent of the rivers bank in Lake County.

    Outdoor recreation opportunities are a major part of the DPRT. However our main goal is protection of the valleys natural features. Preserving large open spaces and greenways within our communities naturally cleans our air and water, provides wildlife habitat, and improves property values. Natural flood protection is another key benefit. Floodwaters collect on much of this land and are slowly released back into the river as its level subsides, helping to protect homes and businesses from major inundations.

    flora & faunaof the dprt

    maple trees great blue heron

    beaver beltedkingfisher

    springwildflowers

    MILE MARKER ONE

    HALF DAY FOREST PRESERVE

    ROUTE 60 UNDERPASS

    MILE MARKER THREE

    FARMLAND & WETLAND

    CANOE LAUNCH AT INDEPENDENCE GROVE

    CASEY TRAIL Planned section

    PRAIRIE CROSSING TRAIL (L.C. Division of Transportation)

    CHAIN O LAKES BIKE PATH Planned section

  • LAKE COUNTY FOREST PRESERVES 3

    This land also preserves wildlife corridors and a greenway of natural communities. Large, contiguous areas of land support higher biological diversity, and a wealth of plants and animals, including rare species, make their home in this valley. Seeds, pollen and animals are less hindered in their movement from one preserve to the next. For such things as tiny frogs and delicate wildflowers, that stay strong only through a genetic mix with other groups of the same species, the greenway is a gift. Several pristine areas flourish along the DPRT. Five are of such high quality that they have been added to the Illinois Nature Preserve system: Ryerson Woods, Wright Woods, MacArthur Woods, Grainger Woods and Wadsworth Savanna. These represent some of the best examples of woodland and prairie in the entire state. One glimpse of a mink along the river or a stroll under the spectacular maples within the trails southern section assures visitors of their value.

    For you, the trail and greenway offers a fun escape to nature. The trail is open for hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and snowmobiling (between Russell Road and Wadsworth Road only). Sixteen parking lot entrances, 43 trail connections to adjoining preserves and six canoe launches provide access to scenery.* From north to south, you can enjoy 12 diverse sites: Van Patten Woods, Wadsworth Savanna, Sedge Meadow, Lake Carina, Independence Grove, Wilmot Woods, Old School, MacArthur Woods, Wright Woods, Half Day, Ryerson Woods and Cahokia Flatwoods. Recreation opportunities at these preserves range from canoe classes and nature hikes to picnic shelters and playgrounds. Bike and boat rentals (at Independence Grove in Libertyville) make your visits easy. Each preserve along the DPRT has its own personality. Taken as a whole, the Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway offers an exciting collection of destinations.

    * See page 14 to learn about the many recreation and volunteer opportunities on the Des Plaines River.

    Lets celebrate!Were planning a big celebration to mark th