Open Space
Illinois was at the forefront of the state park movement, but has since fallen behind most of the nation with regards to both open space available to its citizens and conserved for future generations. Open space in Illinois – parks, forest preserves, conservation areas, recreation areas – is disappearing due to the rapid spread of urbanization and development. While home and retail construction outpaces set-asides for parks and natural areas, these open spaces are top priorities in quality-of-life surveys, contribute to environmental quality, are attractive to people and businesses, and contribute to genetic and ecological biodiversity.

Key Laws and Campaigns Important to Open Space Preservation
Endangered and Threatened Species in Illinois:
Illinois Wildlife Action Plan:
Illinois Natural Areas Inventory:
Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act:
Preservation of the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River:
Non-Game Wildlife Conservation Fund:
Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) and Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF):
Conservation 2000:
Illinois Land Conservation Act of 1995:
Partners for Parks and Wildlife:
Recreation Liability:
Other State Investment in Land Conservation:
Federal Investment:
Our Vision
IEC believes that Illinois should have a permanent, dedicated source of land protection and restoration/stewardship funds, the IDNR should be fully funded, local governments should be able to acquire and protect opens spaces, indigenous species should be protected, and that outdoor recreation should be better supported.
Open space programs should be fully funded:
IDNR should protect Illinois natural resources and have appropriate resources to meet those goals:
Maximize available resources to purchase and protect open spaces:
  • Illinois should also encourage the ability of nonprofit conservation organizations to purchase and protect natural lands that further the goals of the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan.
Increase funding and support for outdoor recreation:
There should be increased funding and support for trail planning, including regional trail connections.
Learn More and Take Action

Partners for Parks and Wildlife

Partners for Parks and Wildlife (PPW) is a grassroots coalition that is dedicated to secure and increase funding for open space and park acquisition, natural area preservation, wildlife habitat protection and recreational opportunities in Illinois.

Learn More About Climate Change

The U.S. EPA’s website on climate change was once a great resource for basic scientific information on the topic and we look forward to the day that it is again. Until then, the City of Chicago is making sure its citizens have access to research and information.


One of the simplest ways to donate to the IEC is by contributing through EarthShare in your workplace charity campaign .