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Illinois hunting and fishing

Isaac Nelson of Premier Forest Products loads white pine trees onto a truck Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at Pecatonica Bottoms Nature Preserve near Pecatonica. Photo by Scott Morgan.

Cutting pines in forest preserves protested

January 13, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Rockford Register-Star

ROCKFORD — Thousands of pine trees were cut down from three Winnebago County Forest Preserves in an effort to restore the landscape to its natural prairie.

The decision has earned district officials the ire of several neighboring residents who said the massive clearing came without warning.

“I feel very violated in terms of having no say in a major change to a forest preserve that I’ve become very attached to,” said Judy Kennon, who lives near Roland Olson Forest Preserve, where 2,237 pines were taken down starting in early December.

Thousands of pines were also removed from Pecatonica River and Fuller Memorial forest preserves.

“If they had prepared the neighbors for this, I don’t think they’d be getting the heat that we’re determined to give,” she said. “It’s just disrespectful to the taxpayers.”

District officials have since scrambled to explain the tree clearing and its ecological benefits. They’ve also promised more public outreach before future land management programs move forward.

Illinois hunting and fishing

A sign tells visitors about habitat restoration Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at Fuller Forest Preserve south of Rockford. Photo by Scott Morgan.

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