Parklands Foundation
 Illinois ranks 49th of the 50 states in the percentage of natural areas surviving. Only 2,300 of the original 21.6 million acres of tallgrass prairie remain today. Of the 13.2 millions acres of forest that existed in 1820, only 4 million remained by 1990. In McLean County, the situation is not much better. In a ten-year span from 1957 to 1967 timberland in McLean County was reduced from 17,000 acres to 7000 acres.

Urban expansion and rural development have increased at unprecedented rates in the past few decades. Once thought of as "waste ground," timberland and areas deemed unsuitable for agriculture are now considered extremely valuable properties.

If ParkLands Foundation did not exist, there would be few, if any, areas left in Central Illinois where citizens would have the opportunity to see and enjoy a landscape as it may have existed prior to European settlement.

Currently, ParkLands Foundation owns and maintains more than 1600 acres of natural land in McLean and Woodford counties. ParkLands properties are first and foremost, areas designed to protect our native plant and animal communities. At the same time, they are designed to allow passive recreation including: hiking, photography, and nature study. Our preserves are open to everyone. However, only two, the Merwin Nature Preserve and the Lexington Preserve, are currently developed for public use. Some of the tracts are kept in their natural state in perpetuity, in accordance with the wishes of the donors. Nevertheless, we hope to have additional areas open in the future.

ParkLands Foundation is a membership of private citizens who donate their time and money to help perpetuate the vision of our founders. A key to ParkLands progress is a broad base of support through dues-paying members. Not only to help buy land, but through a regular commitment of small amounts of time to assist with tree plantings, fence repairs, controlling exotic plants and other restoration and maintenance activities. Consequently, a strong active membership is essential for our continued success

Contact Parklands Foundation

PO Box 3132
Bloomington, Illinois  61702-3132
Phone: (309) 828-4310
Fax: (309) 828-4325


Service Area

Statewide service provider in:
  • Illinois

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