State acquires 2,629 acres of open space from Lone Star Industries
information provided by the Office of the Governor
OGLESBY, Ill. (October 26, 2018) — Governor Bruce Rauner announced yesterday the state has acquired 2,629 acres of property in LaSalle County to protect natural resources and expand recreation opportunities, tourism, and economic development near Starved Rock and Matthiessen state parks.
“More than 3 million people visit Starved Rock and Matthiessen state parks each year. They are among the most beautiful destinations in our state,” Rauner said. “This expansion increases the amount of open space that will be managed and protected there by more than 50 percent and gives people even more reasons to enjoy the outdoors in LaSalle County.”
The state acquired the land from Lone Star Industries Inc., which, along with its predecessor companies, has owned much of the property since the early 1900s. The land originally was mined for coal. It also has been mined for limestone and used as a site for cement manufacturing.
Thanks to mined land reclamation, existing forested areas, lakes, and a stretch of the scenic Vermilion River, the site is ideally suited for development of outdoor recreational uses.
“Sustainable development is a core value of our business model,” said Daniel B. Nugent, senior vice president of Technical Services and Governmental Affairs for Lone Star Industries. “We strive to do business in a way that can meet the needs of present generations without jeopardizing the ability to satisfy the needs of future generations.”
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will manage the property as part of the Starved Rock/Matthiessen state park complex. Planning is underway to restore forest, prairie, and wildlife habitat, and develop trails, a campground, picnic areas, and boat, canoe, and kayak access, as well as foster horseback riding, cross country skiing, fishing, and hunting opportunities.
“Opportunities like this don’t come around very often,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal, “and we’re delighted to add this parcel to Starved Rock and Matthiessen for the enjoyment of visitors for generations to come.”
The IDNR purchased the property for $11,050,000 through the state’s Open Land Trust, established to acquire property for conservation and recreation purposes.