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Forest Board Approves New Land Buy

November 11, 2015 04:41 PM
Ray Lake Addition-Cuneo Property
Ray Lake Addition

At their Tuesday, November 10 meeting, the Lake County Forest Preserve Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of approximately 337 acres in Fremont Township, known as the Cuneo property, for approximately $10,461,491. The new land buy is an addition to Ray Lake Forest Preserve, increasing its total acreage to 894.

Funds from the voter-approved November 2008 referendum made the purchase possible. In addition to referendum funds, this purchase is made possible by a generous $1,085,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The grant provides that $1 million will go toward the acquisition price and $85,000 will be used for habitat restoration on the site.
Fremont Township Property: 337 acres
Situated on the northern border of Ray Lake Forest Preserve, the new land is bounded on the west by Fairfield Road, on the north by Chardon Road, and on the south by Erhart Road. The new land is beautiful, featuring a rolling topography with elevation changes of more than 54 feet and offering expansive open views. It is a significant, uninterrupted parcel neighboring the largest preserve in the District's system––Lakewood Forest Preserve. Ray Lake and Lakewood are part of a larger, connected system of preserves and natural communities. In conjunction with those two preserves, the new land purchase brings the combined acreage of forest preserve land in that area to 3,738.
The new property is an important cornerstone for a large ecological complex of wetland and grassland natural communities. The purchase is a major addition to a large grassland and wetland complex, including nearby Broberg Marsh, Ray Lake, Airstrip Marsh, Wauconda Bog, and Bangs Lake. When considered together, this land complex provides critical habitat for sensitive wetland and grassland species.
Fits with District's 100-year Vision and Strategic Directions
"This acquisition is a dynamic step in realizing the District’s 100-year Vision for Lake County, adopted just a few short months ago," said Forest Preserve President Ann B. Maine. “One of the Strategic Directions of the Vision is to acquire, protect, restore and manage a system of large natural areas connected by waterways and greenways. We want to do this in order to improve the county’s biodiversity and wildlife habitat, enhance water quality and air quality, lessen flood damage, improve property values, and preserve the inspiring natural vistas for which Lake County is known.”
Working with Partners to Accomplish Great Things for the Public
Carol Calabresa, Chair of the Land Preservation and Acquisition Committee, which oversaw the purchase, noted, "Two keys tenets of the 100-year Vision and Strategic Directions are expansion of private philanthropic support of the District's mission, and building partner relationships in the community. The significant and generous grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, partnering with the Forest Preserves, helped make this purchase possible and will help us begin initial restoration of the property. Their gift stands as a strong endorsement of the value of the Forest Preserves in this vibrant community."
The grant is only the second for land acquisition in Lake County in the Foundation’s history. In addition to adding significant acreage to the Lakewood-Ray Lake complex, the project will meet the Foundation’s goal of advancing the field of wetland conservation in Illinois.
Next Steps
When the purchase is final, the new lands will join the extensive network of open spaces -- totaling more than 30,722 acres -- that comprises the Lake County Forest Preserves. The Lake County Forest Preserve District is the second largest forest preserve district in the state, after Cook County.


Media Contact: Alex Ty Kovach, Executive Director,, 847-968-3338