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Perspective: A big milestone for forest preserves

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County

This year the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County celebrate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Forest Preserve District by voters on November 7, 1922.

Hononegah Forest Preserve, was the first land acquired for the new district in 1924. Three more forest preserves were purchased that same year: Laona Heights, the highest point in the county, Kilbuck Bluffs, the site of the first sawmill, and Trailside, a wayside for motorists on U.S. Highway 51 in New Milford.

Today the district has 44 preserves totaling 11,500+ acres.

Research shows that spending time in nature improves your health and well being and we’re fortunate in northern Illinois to have these unique spaces accessible to the public.

People can fish in lakes and rivers, and hike, bike, camp and picnic in the thousands of acres of woodlands, wetlands, and prairies. You can play a round of golf or visit one of the area’s educational centers, Severson Dells Nature Center, Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Sand Bluff Bird Observatory and Macktown Living History Center.

A public celebration of the centennial of the Forest Preserve District will take place on Saturday, May 14th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hononegah Forest Preserve near Rockton. I invite you to enjoy your forest preserves during our centennial year.

I’m Jerry Paulson, and that’s my perspective.

Jerry Paulson is an appointed Commissioner of the Board of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County.