92 Acres Along Kishwaukee River Protected (IL)

BELVIDERE, Ill., 7/15/05 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit conservation organization, announced today it has finalized a land deal that puts 92 acres of forests and farmland along the Kishwaukee River in the hands of the Boone County Conservation District.

The property, which is just west of Belvidere, Ill., is tucked between two growing metropolitan areas – the burgeoning Rockford and Chicago regions. TPL bought the land early in 2005 to stave off any potential development that might have occurred. This move gave the conservation district time to request and receive an Illinois Department of Natural Resources grant the district needed to acquire the land itself.

The acquisition from TPL adds to land the conservation district already owns along the Kishwaukee River and expands the district’s open space holdings for future generations. The property lies north of Newburg Road and east of the Distillery Road Conservation Area. It is in the center of an area known as the Kishwaukee Bottoms. It also is adjacent to Anderson Woods, which is used by the District for its youth overnight camping program.

This project is one of many TPL hopes to facilitate in the coming years as both it and the Boone County Conservation District seek to protect the Kishwaukee River watershed from encroaching development. In 2003, TPL purchased the Sewel Farm along Coon Creek, a Kishwaukee tributary, on behalf of the District. The district most recently acquired 104 acres that is in line with the region’s Greenways and Open Space Plan, said Conservation District Director Dan Kane.

“This acquisition today comes at a great time,” Kane said. “It helps the district grow and continue to protect not only the environment but the high quality of life Boone County residents now enjoy.”

Kane said future uses of the land include a new canoe-landing site and possibly a restored a native tallgrass prairie.

Jeffrey Greenspan, the TPL project manager who brought the deal to fruition, said Friday he was glad to be a part of this important work.

“The project completed today is just part of a vision to protect the Kishwaukee River watershed,” Greenspan said. “We wish to thank all those involved in this project for their hard work in making this portion of that vision a reality.”

The Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law, to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. Regional accomplishments include the protection of Plum Island near Starved Rock State Park in Illinois, numerous city parks in Chicago and the protection of various properties within the Hoosier National Forest in Southern Indiana. Nationwide, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres. To learn more visit www.tpl.org.