...to acquire... and hold lands containing one or more natural forests or parts thereof or lands connecting such forests or parts thereof, or lands capable of being forested, for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora, fauna, and scenic beauties within such district, and to restore, restock, protect and preserve the natural forests and such lands together with their flora and fauna, as nearly as may be, in their natural state and condition, for the purpose of the education, pleasure, and recreation of the public...
The comprehensive Forest Preserve District Act of 1913 was a visionary act when passed. On November 3, 1914, the residents of Cook County voted in favor of establishing a forest preserve district whose boundaries would be analogous to the boundaries of Cook County. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County was established on November 30, 1914 and the first meeting of the Board of Forest Preserve commissioners was February 11, 1915.
The elected Cook County Board of Commissioners was designated to act as the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners. On June 25, 1916 the first lands were obtained. This was a 500 acre component of what is now know as Deer Grove. By 1922, the District’s land holdings had grown to 21, 516 acres obtained at an average cost of $443 per acre.
Today, the Forest Preserve District holds 69,000 acres of open space. The Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden are also owned by the Forest Preserve District.
The Forest Preserves of Cook County are celebrating a milestone: our 100th anniversary. During the Centennial Anniversary years of 2013 to 2015, we will strengthen our commitment to restoring valuable natural areas to ecological health, while inspiring new users from throughout the County to explore, engage with and protect our nearly 69,000 acres.
The Forest Preserves are a critical component of our urban landscape. Just like the lakefront is Chicago’s front yard, the Forest Preserves are Chicago’s back yard. During our Centennial years and beyond, we invite you to visit a preserve, share in the experience of nature and experience one of Cook County’s true gems.
Enjoying the Forest Preserves
Forest Preserves are located across Cook County and provide countless opportunities for conservation and restoration activities, educational programming and recreation and pleasure. Preserves are open year round. Visit the District website at www.fpdcc.com to learn more.