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.

Technical Assistance

Over the past 30 years, Openlands has assisted government entities at every level of jurisdiction in preserving open space, including cities and towns, conservation and forest preserve districts, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.

As a technical assistance provider, Openlands provides a wide range of comprehensive real estate services including:

  • Negotiating and structuring innovative and cost-effective transactions
  • Arranging and managing the due diligence process, including appraisals, environmental site assessments, and title and land survey work
  • Providing interim financing and serving as an interim landowner
  • Assembling multiple parcels, including land secured from tax sales, to form large open space

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.

For more information, please contact land@openlands.org.