Kane County residents now have more than 20,000 acres of forest preserve to enjoy thanks to officials' latest land purchase with the $30 million tax increase approved in April 2011.
The Dick Young Forest Preserve, located in Batavia, grows by 157 acres in the new purchase. At 1,285 total acres, Dick Young is now the largest forest preserve in the county. Forest preserve district officials purchased the land from the Blackberry Farm Series of Simon and Sohn, LLC at a price of $2.3 million. The new forest preserve land is located on the west side of Dick Young, near the intersection of Bliss and Seavey Roads. Officials had already added a connection to Dick Young in January with 134 acres purchased just south of Seavey Road.
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The new purchase is the ninth investment made with the tax increase dollars.
"The addition further expands one of the greatest gems owned by the Forest Preserve District of Kane County," Drew Ullberg, director of natural resources for the district, said in a statement. "What started in the 1970s as a 172-acre property is now over 1,200 acres in size. This addition will allow us to expand large-scale prairie plantings to the west and, someday, expand the existing wetlands at Dick Young Forest Preserve."
District officials view Dick Young as one of the county's most ecologically important areas. The preserve includes the Nelson Lake Marsh and is known locally for the early spring visits made by American White Pelicans.
With the new purchase, district officials have now spent about two-thirds of the tax increase. The nine purchases have added 1,205 acres of forest preserves at a price of about $19.8 million. That averages about $16,432 per acre. At 20,000 acres, the Kane County Forest Preserve District approaches the size of its neighbors. DuPage and McHenry counties both have about 25,000 acres of forest preserve. Lake County has nearly 30,000 acres of forest preserve land and Will County has about 22,000 acres of forest preserve.