March 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 77

Crafting a New Strategy
The " 100-Year Vision for Lake County "
lays out what Ty Kovach, LCFPD executive director, Maine and their working partners believe is a comprehensive
strategy for preserving and cultivating
appreciation for the county's wild open
spaces. Kovach, who joined LCFPD in
early 2013, just months before the planning process began, said he was inspired
in part by NRPA's three pillars: conservation, health and wellness, and social
equity. " When I [was hired at LCFPD],
I immediately wanted to begin the strategic planning process, " Kovach says.
" I looked at [NRPA's three pillars] and
thought, wow, that's really concise -
literally a one-page statement of what
I wanted to do. NRPA had the conservation element, but what really caught
my attention was health and wellness

Chip Williams

Beautiful wildflowers are one of many natural wonders
on display at any of several LCFPD prairie sites.

A view of a tranquil rocky beach at
LCFPD's Fort Sheridan Preserve.

Steven Diver

Forest preserves are unique to Illinois
and are meant for educational opportunities and recreation activities like hiking and mountain biking. Untermyer's
efforts charged county officials with acquiring huge swaths of property to be
put under the forest preserve umbrella.
That's precisely the plan Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD)
commissioners followed, establishing
goals for open space acquisition based
on population size and meeting those
metrics. Today, LCFPD includes more
than 60 wooded areas, expanses of
prairie, trails, lakes, welcome centers,
historic landmarks, golf courses and
meadows. " We're almost plateauing
in terms of land (acquisition), so now
we need to be stewards, " Ann Maine,
LCFPD president, says. " The first 50
years were about getting the land and
preserving it. Now that we have the
land, we have to make a plan and a vision for how to take care of it and what
we want to see, You can't just hold on
to it - you need active management. "

and social equity. " The 100-year plan
identifies three key areas: leadership,
conservation and people, and it details
how LCFPD will leverage these assets and ideas to care for their beloved
lands, forests and waterways through
the next century.
Kovach conducted an extensive
data- and comment-gathering process,
inviting business leaders, residents, fellow conservationists and planners to
the table, and coming up with concise
action steps for going forward. Kovach
says he thinks in " 100-year chunks, "
because thoughtful conservation requires one to take the long view. Now
that data and stakeholder contributions
have been gathered, LCFPD's plan is

on course for implementation in midJune. " The next thing is outreach, "
Kovach says. " We are going to want
to step back with the influence and
depth of knowledge we have, and focus on outreach through education and
communication. I look at it like a relay race. We want to prepare the next
generation to take the baton. We hold
the baton; now we need to successfully hand that off by really focusing on
education, communication, and why
it's important to have open lands and
protect, preserve and restore them. "
Samantha Bartram is the Associate Editor
of Parks & Recreation Magazine (sbartram@
nrpa.org).

W W W. N R PA . O R G | M A R C H 2 0 1 4 |

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