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Published each Thursday in Oswego, Illinois 60543
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Forest preserve plans for the future : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Forest preserve plans for the future
8/21/2014

As we reported last week, the Kendall County Board, in their role as the governing board for the county's forest preserve district, recently adopted a new master plan for the agency.

The 80 page document is an update of the agency's 2008 master plan. The new plan contains background information on the county's natural resources, specific information on the 18 different preserves that are accessible to the public as well as some goals for the district's future. (The plan will soon be posted on the agency's website at co.kendall.il.us/forest-preserve)

Forest preserve director Jason Pettit, his staff, and other county officials deserve praise for their work on the new plan and their continuing efforts to plan for the preservation of the county's natural areas.

In less than 15 years the number of acres of natural areas under forest preserve ownership has grown from 400 acres in 2000 to about 2,600 today. The agency has been able to secure and preserve the additional acres largely as the result of county voters approving two separate referendums to provide up to $50 million in funding to allow the agency purchase additional properties.

In approving the referendums in 2003 and 2007, respectively, county voters placed a significant responsibility on the agency's staff and the county board to make sure the taxpayers' money is spent wisely. The new plan should help guide the agency's staff and board as they continue their efforts to improve existing forest preserves and acquire additional open space.

It's almost hard to believe now, but there was a time a little more than two decades ago when the forest preserve district was mostly an after thought for county officials and the idea of acquiring and preserving natural areas a fairly foreign idea. In fact, we recall a time in the late 1980s when the county board was actively considering using the forest preserve district as a vehicle to develop and operate a golf course. Fortunately, the golf course idea never got off the ground and, in the meantime, a growing number of concerned county residents and officials came forward to redirect the agency towards its original mission: preserving the county's natural areas for current and future generations.





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