Your Forest Preserves a Green Belt
Nature Bulletin No. 451-A April 1, 1972
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
George W. Dunne, President
Roland F. Eisenbeis, Supt. of Conservation
YOUR FOREST PRESERVES A GREEN BELT AROUND CHICAGO
We ordinarily think of an oasis as a green spot in a desert; a place
where travelers find shade and water: a refuge where they can rest and
refresh themselves. The forest preserves, likewise, are oases. As
sanctuaries of native landscape and wildlife they are oases in a rapidly
changing metropolitan area otherwise largely barren of such assets.
Eventually they and Lake Michigan will remain as the only unaltered
primitive features of Cook County.
These preserves are not parks but, in them, every man, woman and
child has a place in the country that the richest man does not have and
cannot buy. Facilities for appropriate forms of outdoor recreation,
principally picnicking, have been provided along the highway borders.
The interiors and the bulk of the holdings, which now total 62, 870
acres, have been preserved in their natural state as nearly as feasible.
There are thousands of acres of unspoiled woodlands, meadows,
marshes, placid streams and bodies of water.
Every year the preserves become more important to the public. As their
hours of work per week decreases, people have more leisure time. They
are becoming more outdoor-minded. There are more elderly and retired
persons. Of approximately 15 million visitors each year, the majority
come to picnic but many are merely seeking solitude, quiet and relief
from the hurly-burly of city life. They can stroll about, fish, bask in the
sunshine, or just rest under a tree. Some pursue hobbies such as nature
study and photography. Others engage in more strenuous activities such
as hiking or horseback riding on the trails, boating, swimming, golf and
winter sports. Youngsters find fun and adventure all year around. The
preserves have become an intimate part of the lives of people in many
communities and innumerable families.
In a county with five and one-half million inhabitants, and as
residential, commercial and industrial developments move steadily
outward and finally surround the forest preserves, the problems of
protecting and preserving them become increasingly difficult. The
woodlands and meadows, with their wildflowers, must be guarded.
They must be protected against fires. The wildlife must be safe from
hunting, trapping or any molestation. The holdings must be kept intact
and used only as originally intended. You can help. They are yours to
use, enjoy, cherish and protect.
Our Conservation Department conducts a comprehensive program of
outdoor education which includes these nature bulletins; illustrated
lectures to school assemblies; naturalist service in summer day camps
and school camps training courses or workshop for teachers and youth
group leaders; nature centers to be visited by school classes, youth
groups and the public. Children and adults thus gain an appreciation of
nature and the importance of our natural resources. They are enabled to
find more enjoyment in the out-of-doors and make better use of our
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Update: June 2012