DuPage County's Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve recently garnered an extra layer of protection against future development.
The forest preserve district Saturday celebrated the designation of the Naperville preserve as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The designation is the result of the district's efforts to restore Springbrook's 50 acres of grasslands and two miles of Spring Brook.
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Commissioner Mary Lou Wehrli, whose district encompasses the preserve, called the designation "one more hoop to jump through" before anyone attempts to develop forest preserve land.
"The current boundaries are very specific about what may or may not be done in Springbrook Prairie," Wehrli said. "And now you can't do anything in there that isn't prairie-related. You can't widen Book Road and you can't even consider any future commercial or residential development."
Visitors to Saturday's celebration joined one of two guided hikes showcasing native plant and animal communities and the dragonflies that live in the forest preserve's wetlands.
"You cannot believe the views on those trails and the calming effect that comes from looking out over all of that protected land," Wehrli said. "Now, more generations of people will get to experience that, thanks to this designation."