Expansion in works for Wilmot Woods near Libertyville

Updated 1/9/2018 5:53 PM

The Lake County Forest Preserve District is poised to expand its holdings with the pending purchase of 11.6 acres near Libertyville as an addition to the Wilmot Woods Forest Preserve.

Members of the forest board's planning committee informally agreed Monday to buy the property along Oak Spring Road just west of St. Mary's Road for $55,000. The full board still must sign off on the purchase.

The triangular piece consists of wetlands and is in a flood plain. While the property is not considered of high quality, the purchase would serve as a "visual, topographic and ecologic extension" of the existing preserve, according to information provided to commissioners.

According to the district, the purchase from the Dubin Investment Co. meets the goals of protecting wildlife habitat, preserving wetlands, prairies, forests and trails, providing scenic vistas and other benefits.

The district had considered acquiring the parcel as a west extension of Wilmot several times in the past but were deterred by an asking price of $32,000 an acre, according to the district. The proposed price is $4,741 per acre.

"This is more about rounding off our boundaries," said Jim Anderson, director of natural resources. "It's acting as a buffer."

The property would be added to the western end of the preserve south of Oak Spring Road, which borders Lake Minear. Railroad tracks would form the southern border of the addition. It is vacant but includes an old foundation that will have to be removed.

The Des Plaines Trail runs through Wilmot Woods, and it has a canoe launch and trail head parking lot on Oak Spring Road.

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