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Restoration of Best Land Management Practices in the Forest Preserves

Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Executive Order 6

Secretary of the Cook County Forest Preserve Board    )

                                                                                                )  SS

County of Cook                                                                    )






WHEREAS, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is the custodian for priceless and irreplaceable natural treasures – some of the best remaining parcels of our original Midwestern landscape harboring communities of plants and animals that are rare on this Earth; in addition, these natural lands provide matchless opportunities for families to learn about and enjoy nature, for healthful recreation and private contemplation, for scientific research and just plain fun; and


WHEREAS, as custodians entrusted with the care of this precious resource, we have a solemn responsibility to ensure that we leave these lands and waters in better shape than we were given them – not only cleaner but also healthier; this is not a matter of opinion, rather it is the District’s legal charter, part of the visionary language that established the country’s first countywide forest preserve district 90 years ago; and


WHEREAS, research by the District’s own professional ecologists and by scientists throughout our region shows that without active management, the biological diversity of our natural lands is in decline; and 


WHEREAS, we cannot allow this to happen any longer, since we have seen the results of neglect and lack of management and they are not good; our professional resource managers must have the full array of tools at their disposal to protect and restore our woods, wetlands, grasslands and streams;  and


WHEREAS, the President’s Community Advisory Council, convened ten years ago by President Stroger, has reviewed and approved management plans for priority sites throughout the forest preserve system and has approved adoption of all management activities in our forest preserves; and


WHEREAS, the Forest Preserve District has addressed many of the concerns expressed by people in Cook County and now provides notice of management activities onsite and to neighbors; and


WHEREAS, the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners has adopted a policy on burning;



THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the State of Illinois, the laws of the State of Illinois, and the Ordinances of Cook County Forest Preserve, I hereby order, effective immediately, that the General Superintendent of the Forest Preserve District, Mr. Steve Bylina, adopt and implement broadly-accepted best management practices on all our natural lands, insofar as is possible. These practices have been endorsed by land management agencies across the country at every level of government, including local park districts, neighboring forest preserve and conservation districts, and the National Park Service. The techniques of managing natural areas are based on science and the judgment of experienced ecologists and land managers. 


When land managers are able to implement these best practices – controlling invasive species, returning fire processes, restoring historic water flows and balancing the populations of plants and animals – nature flourishes; birds and butterflies and wildflowers return in abundance making for a better quality of life for people and all other creatures.


I am also directing the superintendent to make every effort to reach out to forest preserve neighbors and users with timely information and a full explanation of why management is necessary and what the results will be.


Dated this 3rd day of October, 2006




                                                                        Bobbie L. Steele       


                                                                        Board of Commissioners

                                                                        Forest Preserve District of Cook County





Mary Gardner


Board of Commissioners

Forest Preserve District of Cook County

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