ParkLands at Fifty Years: Mission Unchanged; Methods Evolving

Date: Monday, October 9 Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Location: Mennonite Church of Normal (map and directions)


Guy Fraker will share with us information on how the ParkLands Foundation is involved in land preservation in Illinois.  ParkLands was founded in 1967, the consummation of Loring Merwin’s (the publisher of the Pantagraph) vision.   This vision was driven by the rapid destruction of timber and natural areas in McLean and neighboring counties. The original concept was for ParkLands to act as an intermediary, assembling adjacent tracts of land which would then be conveyed to an appropriate unit of government to preserve. Unfortunately the State would not commit to ParkLands conditions of ownership.  ParkLands first major project, now the Mackinaw River Conservation Area, west of Danvers, was designated as a hunting preserve. Therefore, the purpose of ParkLands changed.   The property that was subsequently acquired was managed differently and the acquisition focus became property along the Mackinaw River.  This focus resulted  in the creation of ParkLands two most successful  projects, Merwin and Chinquapin preserves.  ParkLands now holds over 3,000 acres. This property is actively managed by ParkLands to restore it to its original condition.  ParkLands  stands as  a shining example of local action and leadership funded by generous donations, large and small. It helps preserves the Illinois landscape that was here first.

Guy Fraker is an Honorary Board Member of the ParkLands Foundation and an attorney.  He is also the author of two book on Abraham Lincoln, is a frequent speaker on Lincoln, and is involved in a number of Lincoln related projects.


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