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