Preservation & Restoration
The Forest Preserve of Kane County recognizes the important responsibility to preserve and protect the natural heritage of Kane County. To that end, the Forest Preserve Commission created an ordinance that designates unique areas in the District as Natural Areas.
These designated natural areas are places where the native plant community survives and represents the original nature of Kane County. Sadly, these special areas are only a small fraction of the land owned by the District. However, it is the intent of the District to use the natural areas as examples to restore the altered lands to a condition similar to that of the past. The natural areas are available for viewing, but the District wishes to have a minimum impact on these precious jewels of the past.
Old maps and early surveyors’ notes describe local plant communities before settlement. Comparing new and old plant community information allows the District to chart a course for clearing operations, seeding of native plants and eventually a return to a more natural condition. Returning numerous acres of old pasture and cornfields back to native prairie, managing several Illinois State Nature Preserves on District land, and reintroducing native grasses and wildflowers to overgrazed and overgrown woodlands is a challenge to which the District is fully committed.
One of the most valuable tools available for restoration is fire. Fire shaped our landscape prior to settlement and allows prairies, woods and wetlands to flourish. The District uses prescribed burns to restore native plant communities.
What Citizens Can Do
Visit your local preserve to enjoy the beauty of nature as well as protect our natural resources. It is important to leave plants and animals in their natural habitat and not stray from designated pathways. Whether hiking through field or woods, biking on a trail, camping, stopping a few minutes or spending the day, the preserves are open for you from 8 a.m. to sunset. Please remember, nothing may be removed from a forest preserve. Please respect the plants, trees, wildlife and artifacts for others to enjoy, as they are protected by law.