ParkLands Foundation Land Purchase Expands Nature Preserve System

PRESS RELEASE: 24 July 2017
Dan Deneen, President, ParkLands Foundation,, 309.663.0555
Jolie Krasinski, Program Officer, Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation,, 847-528-0085


ParkLands Foundation (PLF) of Bloomington, IL, has increased the amount of protected natural area in central Illinois by acquiring 69 acres of Mackinaw River forest in southeastern Woodford County. This purchase occurred due to funding from two granting organizations (Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and Grand Victoria Foundation) along with funds generated from ParkLands Foundation’s members and supporters.

The Hayes Woods Nature Preserve, named for the Richard Hayes family who have maintained this property in excellent ecological condition, is close to three other PLF nature preserves, thereby increasing overall connectivity and area of protected natural land. It furthers our Mackinaw Bluffs Corridor Project goals of increasing protected natural areas in both Woodford and McLean counties so as to enhance ecological health, provide habitat for native plants & animals, and protect water quality of the Mackinaw River watershed. The preserve also comes with a well-maintained system of trails that are open to the public for passive nature recreation such as hiking, nature viewing, and nature photography.

“ParkLands’ achievement of protecting over 4,771 acres of natural area along the Mackinaw River in central Illinois is impressive,” said Dennis O’Brien, Executive Director of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. “The Foundation is pleased to be a partner in the group’s latest acquisition, Hayes Woods. Based on the care taken by ParkLands and its volunteers to improve and protect habitat at sites like Letcher Basin and Sweeney Woods, also purchased with the help of Foundation grant support, the new preserve is in good hands.”

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation ( supports programs and projects that will improve energy efficiency, develop renewable energy resources, and preserve and enhance natural areas and wildlife habitats throughout the state.

Grand Victoria Foundation ( is a statewide grant maker that invests its resources to provide early education opportunities for young children, protect natural lands and waterways, and promote economic vitality through robust employment development. Through its Vital Lands Illinois grant program, the Foundation supports the acquisition and preservation of vitally important, irreplaceable natural landscapes across Illinois.

ParkLands Foundation ( is a nonprofit, public membership, conservation land trust that is dedicated to acquiring, preserving, and restoring natural areas in the Mackinaw River watershed of McLean and Woodford counties. Our success since 1967 is due to the long-term support of local volunteers and donors.