Savanna landowner protects bluffland forest

80 acres in Carroll County includes ancient dolomite prairie on top of bluffs along Mississippi

Elizabeth, Illinois—Savanna resident Jack Nickels has shielded 80 acres of forested land north of Mississippi Palisades State Park in Carroll County from development, the Natural Land Institute announced. Nickels decided to go ahead with the agreement with the Natural Land Institute as soon as he learned it could be tailor-made to perfectly fit him and his property.

“Jack will protect his land for its conservation values, which was his intent from the time he purchased it,” said Rick Lawrence, project director for the Natural Land Institute. “He will continue to own the property, he can sell it or leave it to his heirs, but it will never be sub-divided. He will get some equity from his land, he’s eligible for potential tax benefits, and in exchange agrees to maintain the forest, prairies and wildlife that he loves.”

Jerry Paulson, executive director of the Natural Land Institute, said Nickels was able to exercise his conservation rights with the help of a grant from the McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based private philanthropic organization that seeks to maintain and restore a healthy environment in the Mississippi River Basin.

“Jack faced challenges familiar to many other conservation-minded landowners,” Paulson said. “The grant helped him overcome obstacles to protecting his land due to rising tax bills, development pressures and estate taxes.”

The Nickels property has abundant natural beauty and biological diversity. The land is cut by deep ravines, blanketed in forest vegetation and includes an ancient dolomite prairie on top of the bluffs along the Mississippi River. The prairie forms a linear island of spectacular wildflowers and grasses among the otherwise dense forest canopy. Diverse plants, animals and migrating songbirds inhabit the property, and rumors persist of sightings of bobcats roaming the rough terrain.

The Natural Land Institute has a 50-year history of protecting land in northern Illinois. For information about land protection options for owners of various types of property, call Rick Lawrence, NLI Blufflands Project director, in Elizabeth at (815) 858-3666.

from the Oct. 17-23, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!