Healthy Lands

As Chicago’s regional land trust, Openlands works to connect a web of green across municipalities, waterways, and state lines. From establishing city parks to protecting and stewarding large-scale landscapes across the region, Openlands values the land, and we work with partners across northeastern Illinois to protect open space permanently.

Land trusts across the country are engaging local communities to conserve the lands we all treasure, from woodlands and prairies to rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Land conservation protects habitats and migratory paths for threatened plant and animal species. By protecting and restoring the land, we ensure clean water, expand public access to open space, and build resiliency against a changing climate.

Conservation of public and private lands in the Chicago region also yields economic benefits and improvements in green infrastructure. One study found that every $1 invested in restoration of conserved land results in a $8 return. Activities related to outdoor recreation, eco-tourism, natural resource conservation, and historic preservation are estimated to contribute over $1.06 trillion annually to our national economy.

Restoring Landscapes

Openlands is leading a series of restorations across the Des Plaines River Watershed that are undertaken in conjunction with the Chicago District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Protecting Public and Private Land

As Chicago’s regional land trust, Openlands drives regional conservation strategies to protect public and private lands as open space, wildlife habitat, trails, parks, and other community assets.

Conservation Easements

Conservation easements provide assurance that beloved places are protected in perpetuity, creating a lasting legacy for future generations.