The Lake County Forest Preserve District board of commissioners recently approved a sweeping "100-year Vision for Lake County."
"Today, Lake County residents take great pride in their forest preserves and the quality of life that they provide," Ann B. Maine, president of the Lake County Forest Preserve District said after the unanimous vote.
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"Our vision will ensure that our great-grandchildren enjoy a healthy and resilient landscape that makes their communities more livable and the local economy more dynamic."
The vision will guide strategic decision-making for the forest preserve district as they preserve and restore lands, but the district sees their impact extending beyond preserved acres.
"We will use the vision's core principles of leadership, conservation and people as the foundation in a strategic plan for how we can protect our forest preserves and have them serve as a model for improving the landscape throughout Lake County," Maine said.
The Lake County Forest Preserve's strategic planning process began in August 2013 and was initiated by Executive Director Alex Ty Kovach, who was newly hired earlier that year. During the first phase of the planning process, the forest preserve board, staff and key partners described their long-term vision. The second phase will lay out specific and more immediate goals for how the district will achieve that vision, with a final plan anticipated in June 2014.
"Changing Lake County's landscape will take generations, and that's why we focused on a 100-year vision," Kovach said. "For the past 50 years, visionary people anticipated the growth that was coming to Lake County and took action to create the excellent Forest Preserve District that we now enjoy. Over the next 100, we need to be even more farsighted -- we must create a strategic mindset that can adapt to a changing environment."
The Forest Preserve District's "100-year Vision for Lake County," available to read at www.LCFPD.org, reflects detailed feedback from Lake County Forest Preserve volunteers, local government staff, conservation partners and businesses.
"The future of our forest preserves is inextricably tied to Lake County's working landscape of residential, commercial, farming, business and other development," Maine said. "We want to be a leader in working with partners to make sure that the entire landscape benefits both people and nature. It has been exciting to see how many other organizations are committed to working with us to make our vision a reality."
As Lake County's principal guardian of open space and natural areas since 1958, the Lake County Forest Preserve District manages more than 30,000 acres of land and offer innovative educational, recreational and cultural opportunities for all ages.
Visitors of all ages can enjoy over 168 miles of trails for a variety of outdoor recreation uses, ponds and lakes for fishing, public golf courses, historical and cultural venues, public access to the Fox River, and award-winning nature and history education programs and events.
Facilities of special interest include Independence Grove in Libertyville, Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods, Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Greenbelt Cultural Center in Waukegan, and ThunderHawk Golf Club in Beach Park.
For a program calendar or additional information visit www.LCFPD.org or call (847) 367-6640 and request a free copy of the Horizons quarterly newsletter.