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updated: 9/11/2012 2:52 PM

Lake County forest board inks $438,000 land deals to expand Lake Carina, Independence Grove preserves

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  • Fishing at the Lake County Forest Preserve's Lake Carina along Milwaukee Avenue, just south of Gurnee.

      Fishing at the Lake County Forest Preserve's Lake Carina along Milwaukee Avenue, just south of Gurnee.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer


Two Lake County forest preserves will get some extra acreage under land deals approved Tuesday.

One purchase adds 9.5 acres to the Lake Carina Forest Preserve near Gurnee. The site had been part of Warren Township High School District 121's O'Plaine Road campus.

The other deal adds 9 acres to the Independence Grove Forest Preserve near Libertyville.

Although both purchases are relatively small, forest district officials were excited about the deals.

"(They're) small in acreage but large in importance to adding and enhancing existing forest preserves," said Commissioner Stevenson Mountsier, leader of the board's land preservation and acquisition committee.

The addition to Lake Carina increases the 53-acre preserve's size by nearly 18 percent. It will cost the district $38,000.

With an entrance on Milwaukee Avenue at Gages Lake Road, the preserve features trails and fishing in the lake that gave the preserve its name.

The addition consists of wooded wetlands and includes segments of the Des Plaines River and the Des Plaines River Trail. The part of the trail running through the site had been built on an easement, but now the district will own it outright.

"It's a very important piece of property to add to Lake Carina," Mountsier said.

The land is on the west side of the O'Plaine Campus. Warren Township High School District Interim Superintendent Mary Perry-Bates couldn't be reached for comment.

Independence Grove is part of the Des Plaines River Trail, too.

Located just south of Lake Carina with a main entrance on Buckley Road just east of Milwaukee Avenue, the 1,145-acre Independence Grove dwarfs its neighbor.

The addition is on the north end of the preserve, near Route 120 and River Road.

This past May, the current owners agreed to sell the district an adjoining 9-acre parcel. That deal hasn't closed, and during discussions the additional 9-acre site was added to the mix.

It will protect a floodplain, provide a buffer for trails and improve public access, according to a district memo.

The entire 18-acre purchase will cost $400,000.

The current owners were not identified Tuesday, nor were they named in available district documents.

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