New partnership takes flight for 77 acres in Woodstock
Families and individuals alike will be able to enjoy a spectacular viewing site for migrating birds, pre-Civil War oak trees and other natural wonders at a highly accessible location in Woodstock.
Through a partnership that includes The Land Conservancy of McHenry County, McHenry County Community Foundation and the City of Woodstock, 77 acres of wetland and oak savanna will be restored and managed for future generations to enjoy.
The Foundation purchased the land near the intersection of Illinois Route 14 and Lily Pond Road in 2010 to ensure it would be preserved. This fall, their vision came to fruition when TLC accepted a permanent conservation easement on the land before the Foundation donated the property to Woodstock.
The property includes a remnant oak savanna with trees dating back to the 1830s when European-Americans settled McHenry County. The area also features marshland that provides important migratory habitat for birds such as egrets, herons, cranes and a wide variety of duck species.
The savanna is adjacent to Metra’s train tracks near the intersection Route 14 and Lake Shore Drive, making it visible to thousands of commuters every day.
Since 2006, TLC has managed City of Woodstock natural areas at Ryders’ Woods, Hennen Park, Westwood Park and Donato Conservation Area. The new, as yet unnamed, park will become the fifth City-owned natural area managed by TLC.
“We want to extend our sincere thanks to the Foundation for shepherding the donation and entrusting it to the City through the part nership we have forged with The Land Conservancy of McHenry County,” said Mayor Brian Sager. “These types of projects do not occur easily or quickly, but they are worthy of our dedicated efforts."
Want to hear more about this special project? Click here to listen to Executive Director Lisa Haderlein's interview with Stew Cohen of Star 105.5!
Below: Hickory trees dot the easement's landscape. Whitney Rupp/The Woodstock Independent
The McHenry County Community Foundation donated $25,000 to The Land Conservancy of McHenry County to serve as steward of the land. $10,000 was added to TLC’s permanent endowment and $15,000 will be used to complete initial restoration work in the savanna.
The property is not yet accessible to the public, but once access is arranged and restoration is underway, the property could offer hiking trails as well as overlooks for bird enthusiasts to watch migrating species in spring and fall.