Every winter, bird enthusiasts and curious onlookers stand above the Illinois River at Starved Rock State Park and witness dozens of American bald eagles circling above the open water below the dam and perching in trees on Plum Island. After being threatened with development for years, the island is now safely protected as a result of the Trust for Public Land legal and real estate experts. Undeveloped, Plum Island complements the natural beauty of the adjacent Starved Rock State Park. With millions of visitors each year, the protection effort grew in visibility, yet up until last fall, it there seemed to be no viable conservation solution. The Illinois Audubon Society and its volunteers will own and maintain the property and keep it undisturbed for the eagles and the people watching them from the bluffs above or fishing from along its banks. Contributions from the Illinois Clean Energy and Community Foundation and a TPL supporter, Robin Labancz, provided the funding to support the transaction.
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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects. You’ll find some of our favorite places on the map below.