Government, conservationists team up to preserve Tower Lakes woods

Cuba Township, Tower Lakes and a pair of Barrington-area conservation groups have teamed up to buy the 15.5-acre Barclay’s Woods in Tower Lakes with plans to restore the site to its natural state and permanently protect it as a nature preserve.

“The preservation of Barclay Woods is a remarkable project because both government and conservation groups recognized the high conservation value of this property and cooperated to protect it for the environmental health of the community,” Cuba Township Supervisor David Nelson said in a statement released today announcing the plan.

The parcel sits east of Route 59 off Pebble Creek Road in Tower Lakes. It is an oak savanna with 100- to 200-year old white and red oak trees and contains both a high quality creek and wetlands that flow into Tower Lakes and Wagner Fen.

Four private donors and the Tower Lakes Community Foundation also contributed financial support to purchase the property from its previous owner, Barrington Bank & Trust, Nelson said.

“With little state or federal funding available to protect open lands, this kind of cooperation is what will be required in the future to preserve Barrington’s remaining open lands with high conservation value,” said Karen Yancey, executive director of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust. “The conservation easement on the property protects the high-quality wetlands and oak trees that would take generations to replace.”

Cuba Township and Tower Lakes will jointly own the site, and Citizens for Conservation will oversee restoration efforts.

“The property is part of an important wildlife corridor that links habitats connecting CFC’s Barrington Bog and Wagner Fen preserves,” CFC President Peggy Simonsen said.

Under the conservation management plan for the parcel, the groups will work with community volunteers over the next two to three years to remove invasive species and begin a hiking trail. An Oak Recovery Grant received by the Barrington Area Conservation Trust from Chicago Wilderness and the U.S. Forest Service will be used to help restore the oak forest.

“It was critical to preserve Barclay Woods to protect the water quality of both Tower Lakes and Wagner Fen,” Tower Lakes Village President Kathleen Leitner said.

For more information on the Barrington Area Conservation Trust, including its Conservation@Home program for private land owners, visit

For more information on Citizens for Conservation, visit

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