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Protecting Public and Private Land

Since 1963 Openlands has helped to protect more than 55,000 acres in northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region. As Chicago’s regional land trust, we drive regional conservation strategies by building strategic partnerships, supporting planning efforts and offering technical assistance, engaging elected officials, and empowering local advocates.

Openlands provides technical assistance that can include purchasing key parcels of land, ensuring they are permanently protected as open space, wildlife habitat, trails, parks, and other community assets. Our key focus areas include Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Lake County, Illinois, and Cook County. Openlands has also protected more than 2,500 acres of public and private lands with conservation easements, such as Chicago’s North Park Village Nature Center, which recently received permanent protection of over 100 acres of open space, and the Prairie Crossing Community in Grayslake.

Land Trust Alliance Accreditation

Openlands has been a Land Trust Alliance Member since 1983, and in 2013, Openlands was accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. As an accredited land trust, we apply best practices in land protection transactions and offer decades of experience in conserving the green spaces of the Chicago Wilderness region for all to enjoy.

Conservation Easements

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

Providing Technical Assistance

Over the past 30 years, Openlands has assisted government entities at every level of jurisdiction in preserving open space.

Food and Farmland

Openlands works with landowners to implement conservation-friendly practices on working lands and ensure that the farmland in our region stays as healthy.