The Daily Herald reports that the DuPage County Forest Preserve continues to purchase more land:
Five years after voters approved a $68 million tax increase so the DuPage County Forest Preserve could buy more land, officials report they have acquired 43 properties and more than 473 acres so far.
The biggest purchase came three years ago of 94 acres for $12.3 million to protect a unique wetland near Bartlett, Kevin Stough, director of land preservation, said in a recent report to forest preserve commissioners…
“The timing has worked for us, since land prices started dropping in 2007 and have gone down more steeply in recent years,” he said. “So that’s something where we have been very fortunate.”
In total, the district has purchased 143 acres of floodplains, 124 acres of wetland and the remaining 206 acres are primarily forested areas, all accessible to the public. And Stough said the forest preserve still has money left to purchase more land.
The District owns or manages over 25,000 acres of land at over 60 forest preserves, about 12 percent of the total land in DuPage County. As a result, every home and business in DuPage County is no more than ten minutes from a forest preserve.
Within these 25,000 acres are 60 forest preserves, 600 acres of lakes, 47 miles of rivers and streams, and over 145 miles of trails. Some forest preserves are jointly owned, and some are the site of nature centers or amenities operated by other agencies.
That is a lot of preserved land within a county that experienced a lot of population pressure after World War II and today has little open land for development.
I would love to see figures about what DuPage County residents think of the Forest Preserve. The Forest Preserve suggests its land is quite popular:
Each year, 3.4 million visitors enjoy the county’s 60 forest preserves. Additionally, over 100,000 visitors participate annually in educational and cultural programs at the Forest Preserve District’s five education centers.
How do County residents see the trade-off between paying higher taxes versus having the Forest Preserve land to enjoy? Is there anyone who thinks that putting this much land off-limits to development raises housing prices? How important is open space to County residents versus other concerns?