Access to Cache River Natural Area Expanded (IL)

BELKNAP, Ill., 1/9/2006 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today it has donated 40 acres to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that will allow the state to expand access for hunters and hikers into the hallmark Cache River State Natural Area. TPL purchased the land and immediately turned it over to the state thanks to a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation.

“We’re honored by the Foundation’s generosity,” said TPL Senior Project Manager Jeffrey Greenspan. “And, we are proud that this donation allows us to help one of Illinois premier natural areas continue to grow.”

The 40-acre parcel is northwest of the town of Belknap in Johnson County. It is bounded by a county road on one side and the Cache River State Natural Area on the other. The donated land joins a 14,000 acre natural wonderland containing massive, 1,000-year-old cypress trees, bottomland forests, swamps, hill prairies, glades, cliffs, exposed bedrock, upland forests and 20 varieties of endangered or threatened plants and animals.

The land likely will be reforested and contain a road with a parking lot and registration kiosk, giving hunters, hikers and other enthusiasts one more way to enjoy the area’s beauty and natural diversity.

Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has worked with willing landowners, community groups, and national, state, and local agencies to complete more than 2,700 land conservation projects in 46 states, protecting more than 2 million acres. TPL 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.

The Trust For Public Land’s other regional accomplishments are diverse and include protection of an abandoned rail line along the Mississippi River in St. Louis that will be a trail connecting recreation-poor city neighborhoods with the region’s growing trail system, Plum Island near Starved Rock State Park in Illinois, thousands of acres in the growing suburbs of northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana, and several city parks in Chicago.