Cook County forest preserve adding new gateways to 30 sites
Deer Grove Forest Preserve near Palatine and the Ned Brown Preserve (Busse Woods) near Elk Grove Village will be among the first of 30 Forest Preserves of Cook County sites to receive new entrances, or gateways, through a program aimed at drawing more people into nature.
Although designs for the gateways have not been completed, the goal is for them to convey a sense of welcome, interest, safety and beauty, according to the forest preserve district.
"Creating a physical gateway to the forest preserves will serve as a landmark to the public as well as a welcome sign for visitors who all too often overlook the variety of amenities available to them throughout the county," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a news release.
Also among the 30 forest preserve properties to receive new gateways will be the Rolling Knolls Forest Preserve near Elgin and the Crabtree Nature Center near Barrington,
According to Chris Slattery, the forest preserve district's planning and development director, all 30 of the entrances will be enhanced through the program within the next five years.
The forest preserve district plans to have secured detailed designs and construction permits for six of the gateways by the end of 2016.
Some funding for the Gateway Master Plan comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy HotSpot initiative.
The Forest Preserve Foundation provided an additional $51,000 toward the work.