The Rock River Times sent a survey to all 35 candidates for Winnebago County Forest Preserve District commissioner who will appear on the Nov. 2, 2010, General Election ballot. Following are the 26 questions that appeared on the survey and the candidates’ replies to the questions broken down by candidate. The candidates are listed in the same order in which they will appear on the ballot. Because of delays in receiving these ballots and fiscal considerations The Rock River Times has just become aware of, Forest Preserve candidate endorsements will not be made until noon, Monday, Nov. 1. Further Rock River Times endorsements will be posted throughout the weekend. [Editor's note: We regret any delay in your viewing of these responses. Our website is experiencing heavy traffic as readers attempt to access these survey replies.]
1. Would you put forward and support a referendum for taxes to acquire funds for land acquisition for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District (WCFPD)?
2. The WCFPD has 41 forest preserves. How many have primitive campsites? Could primitive campsites provide more revenue?
3. How many golf courses does the WCFPD have? Which specific ones would you consider closing or expanding. Please explain how and why. What would become of that land?
4. Would you allow archery and/or firearm seasonal hunting on WCFPD properties for additional revenue? How would that be done and what would be the charge?
5. How many Winnebago County forest preserves have you visited, and which is your favorite and why?
6. What was WCFPD’s total budget for last year? Considering eco-tourism, what percent of the 2011 budget should be spent for marketing and where should that marketing be directed—locally, statewide, regionally, and nationally?
7. Have you or will you accept campaign donations from developers, Realtors, construction companies or unions? Why or why not would accepting those donations be appropriate?
8. What is conservation design?
9. What is an agricultural easement?
10. How many rivers are in Winnebago County, and which is your favorite and why?
11. Besides taxation to support natural land acquisition, how could the WCFPD acquire revenue for expansion of their land preservation program?
12. Do you support the placement of large-scale wind farms in agricultural areas? Please explain your position.
13. Who is your favorite environmental author?
14. Do you support residential, commercial, or industrial development adjacent to or nearby WCFPD properties?
15. Where are you employed and for how long?
16. If married, where is your spouse employed and for how long?
17. Do you have any relatives who would present conflicts of interest to be considered with issues before the new board?
18. Would you be a watchdog to ensure fair-market prices were paid for new land acquisitions?
19. How do you evaluate the monetary value of wetlands as opposed to agricultural, industrial or residential property?
20. Would you review all bids/contracts the in force with WCFPD, and would you be willing to consider the privatization of services provided by the WCFPD?
21. What are natural resource/natural species inventories and are they cost-effective?
22. What is “sustainability”?
23. Why would you close off certain sections of a forest preserve or an entire land holding and for how long?
24. Why do you want to be a member of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District’s Board of Directors?
25. Who suggested you run for this office?
26. Who are your campaign workers and financial supporters?
Jasper “Jay” Ferraro
Survey not returned.
Craig A. Peterson
Survey not returned.
1. I would not recommend a referendum for a tax increase at this time. In the future as the economy improves, land purchases could possibly be done through the corporate fund when possible and with private donations and partnerships such as NLI.
2. There is a potential need for more primitive campsites, though they require maintainence and promotion to which the commissioners will need to address costs involved. A developed site at Hononegah needs to be promoted and stiu8diy of its use. We have 4 campgrounds with 252 sites as it is and fees will need to be studied.
3. We own 3 golf courses of which 2 are in fairly good repair and 1 needs improvement but they can sustain costs by fees for play, cart rental and more daily fee golfers.
4. Some current preserves could be closed for hunting over a short time period, though I am not in favor of hunting by the general public in the preserves unless it is to eliminate excess deer population. Sharp shooters have been hired in the past and some would like to have bow and arrow hunting available but I believe we must study such activity for the safety of the general public. There has been discussion of donation or purchase of land to the county for that very purpose and I would have no objection to that whatsoever.
5. I have been to all the sites at some time or other and have toured with the Land Advisory committee, of which I have been a member for 10 years, and am amazed at the care and beauty of our precious preserves. I especially enjoy Severson Dells and its educational facility and the Macktown Preserve for its historical atmosphere. The Stephen Mack/HoNo-Ne-Gah burial site was a project of the County Forest Preserve office in conjunction with Rockford Chapter Daughters of American Revolution when I was Regent in 1991. We dedicated and “marked” the site, after the graves were moved from an obscure cemetery and rededicated the site again in 2001 under my leadership, again, as Regent. Many family members from their ancestry were present from around the United States.
6. Budget for 2010 estimate was $5,858,036 and expenses were estimated at $5,832,600. The new budget is based on projection of a shortfall of $437,477.
This is up to the new commissioners to work within this budget that was set by the current board.
7. I have received no money from developers or unions. I am running because of my personal beliefs and integrity.
8. Conservation design offers layout of plantings and development to give the best habitat for the precious floral and fauna in our county.
9. Agricultural easement is meant to allow planting of crops and we are not in th3e business of farming.
10. We have beautiful rivers in Winnebago County that have specific assets that set them apart from each other. The Rock offers beautiful sites and boating as does the “Kish” with its meandering along some of the most scenic areas in our county. The Pec and Sugar flow into the Rock and are not generally thought of as located near us, but offer wonderful fishing and great habitat for birds and water fowl.
11. Application for grants and personal donations of land by taxpayers, or working in conjunction with other naturalist groups.
12. I’m not in favor of windfarms in agricultural areas. Too much if our beautiful farmland is being taken over or destroyed and we need to conserve our productive earth. If windfarms are placed on non-productive soil, that is another story, but definitely not in our preserves.
13. Have none! I read a great deal and devour all good literature.
14. I support development to the degree that it does not infringe on our natural habitats or prevent the forest preserves from possible expansion.
15. I’m a 26 year self-employed REALTOR currently with Whitehead and understand land values and relationships of land to recreation and environmental needs.
16. I am a widow.
17. No conflicts of interest of my relatives. My son-in-law is an environmentalist.
18. My real estate experience offers knowledge in pricing of land acquisitions.
19. Monetary value of wetlands takes into account needs for certain plants and waterfowl, so each land price has to be considered separately. What is good for residential/industrial is not necessarily what the forest preserve board might consider as what they need in any given area.
20. All bids and contracts should be analyzed and considered on their merits. I would also consider privatization of services if needed and feasible.
21. How do you measure natural resources or species inventories? Other than bird banding that we do at Colored Sands, I believe that cost effectiveness has little to do with inventory. ( I may misunderstand what you intend to convey)
22. Sustainability is supporting or maintaining, as we as commissioners need to see that our preserves are sustained for future generations as well as for today’s usage so that we can all explore and enjoy what nature has to offer.
23. Closing sections of a preserve would only be done for deep maintainence, replanting or if needed for safely , as in flooding of culling of deer herd, and on a short term basis.
24. I have chosen to run for commissioner because of my experience over the last 10 years on the Land Advisory Committee for the Forest Preserve Board, and I believe I understand the needs of the Preserves and the educational opportunities and recreational needs of the people.
25. I decided to run on my own after discussion with my children, who encourage me, and have been active in the scouting community as youth growing up in Rockford and being part of a camping and nature loving family.
26. My community involvement has given me visibility and my connections as a volunteer and leader have enabled me to get non-funded promotional help from various segments of the community.
Word of mouth is always the best and my name recognition will, hopefully, do the rest!
Rogene A. Hamilton
1. No. I have signed a pledge from Tax Accountability stating I will oppose any new taxes or tax increases. Tax Accountability, the political action arm of National Taxpayers United of Illinois, has endorsed me.
2. There is only one preserve, Sugar River, with primitive sites. I’m not sure when they pulled back on primitive sites because we camped at Seward Bluffs in the 70s on primitive sites before they had a developed campground there. I believe primitive sites are an under used revenue source that would not carry a lot of overhead.
3. There are 3 golf courses. I would close all 3 if possible but once the district acquires land it cannot be sold. It can be traded under certain circumstances. There were stipulations with the gift of Atwood having to do with it being a golf course so it may be exempt from any changes though I do not know for sure. At one time the golf courses made money but the development of many new private courses in a 30-mile radius has made WCFPD golf less than competitive. At a candidate information meeting, we were told that cart rental is the only thing making money now but the golf cart fleet needs to be replaced. I would not support such an expense. (Mr. Schier, I have another idea on this subject that I am not stating publicly at this time but you can call me, off the record, at 815-239-1459.)
4. I support permit hunting for deer and possibly turkey. Bow hunting, of course, would be easier to address as far as the safety issues. Shotgun would require a different plan. Safety would always be the first consideration. Which preserves to hunt would be the next consideration. Location, where is the herd doing the most damage, how would the herd move when hunted – are all issues to take into consideration. How many permits would depend on the acreage and specific preserve issues. The cost per permit would have to be such that the hunt would not operate at a loss. Consideration on that issue would include what it costs to hire sharpshooters and the cost of meat processing which you would not have with permit hunting. I know this is done in other counties and other states so we should be able to do it here.
5. I have been to 15 preserves. Seward Bluffs is by far my favorite. We always had our family reunions, school picnics, church picnics and impromptu family picnics there. We had early morning breakfast cookouts, after dark scavenger hunts (before the parks were locked at night) and we went primitive camping before there was a campground. We rode horses and jumped them off into the deep hole in the creek and they would swim out. My Dad took us hiking on trails that you can’t even see anymore. We waded in the creek and played baseball on the diamond in the bottoms. In the winter we walked in and went snow sledding and tobogganing. I found my first one and learned what a morel was in that park. I know the old part of that park like the back of my hand. There was no need to go to any of the other parks.
6. I believe the total budget projected revenue for last year was about 7.5million, about 90,000 under the projected expenses. I do not believe that marketing is necessary. People know we have forest preserves and they are either the kind of people who will use them or they are not. If the Chamber of Commerce, tourism agencies, etc. want to promote the area, they will undoubtedly be including the forest preserves and parks in their campaigns. Park maps, trail maps, and information brochures on site are the only information I would be agreeable to providing at this time. If, in the future, it becomes necessary to enact user fees, marketing might be effective in bringing in revenue.
7. I have actually refused a donation and would not accept any donations. Accepting a donation, to me, implies some sort of a promise or favor to be returned.
8. In relationship to our area, this would be the Boone and Winnebago Regional Greenways Plan.
9. This is a program to protect farmland specifically from development. There was just such an agreement recently I believe in Capron where acreage was set aside in return for the right to build a house on it in the future. This is a good example of the ideal way to conserve and preserve – through private landowners.
10. There are four rivers; Pec, Sugar, Kishwaukee and Rock. I would have to say the Pec is my favorite as I live only a few blocks from it and the Pecatonica River Preserve is the one I spend most of my “back to nature” time at now.
11. I am opposed to any further land acquisition. We have 9600 acres and 41 preserves. That is enough. We should concentrate on maintaining the ones we have in the manner they have been maintained so far. Once you acquire land, it can never be sold. Acquired land is removed from the tax roles, increasing the burden to the remaining taxpayers. I believe that conservation and preservation should be driven by individuals and private organizations. We should never rely on government to be the major steward of our land and water.
12. I believe that you should be able to use your land as you see fit. Farmland can still be farmed around wind turbines thus doing double duty. Drive down the U.S. Route 20 bypass and take a look at everything that is up on poles. We don’t think anything about it. We are completely used to and almost oblivious to all of the power towers, phone poles, cell towers and signage there. I find wind turbines much easier on the eyes and they are never as close to roads, homes, and businesses as those things I mentioned. Which would you rather have, a wind farm or a subdivision?
13. The only authors I have read who might be considered in any way environmental are Jack London, Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold and Euell Gibbons. I read books about Alaska and have innumerable reference books on the National Parks, birds, wild foods, organic gardening, natural medicine and natural healing, natural weed control, etc, etc… Although I enjoy my reference books, I love fiction, and of these authors would have to pick London as my favorite.
14. I neither support nor oppose such development. The WCFPD cannot have their properties and also expect to have an additional buffer zone beyond that.
15. I worked for Exelon / ComEd for 33 years and have been retired for 2 years.
16. My husband farmed the family farm until 1997, held a real estate license and had a replacement window business. He is now retired also.
17. No. My mother-in-law and my husband both own land adjacent to the Pecatonica River Forest Preserve. That land has been in the family since 1843 and there is no desire to sell it. The land is not on the river so is not in the WCFPD long-range acquisition plan. Even if the WCFPD decided they wanted to make an offer to acquire that property, they would be rebuffed by the owners. I would oppose such a proposal in accordance with my opposition to any further land acquisition.
18. I am opposed to any further land acquisition but if out-voted would absolutely insist on a fair market price.
19. Such a property should be valued as the market will bear. The WCFPD’s desire to acquire a wetland property does not give the property value. A stand alone property of that type is not worth very much on the open market and a sale price should reflect that.
20. Yes, I believe all contracts will need to be reviewed, necessarily because of the over budget issue. I would be open to any cost cutting measures. I am an advocate for the taxpayer. I also think there should be an audit before the new board takes over.
21. I am not sure what these terms mean but I would guess it is bird counts, wildlife counts, seed collection, etc. We should be able to find volunteers to accomplish such tasks.
22. The ability to survive, adapt and endure. Consider this: What is NOT sustainability? That would be the clear-cutting of hundreds of mature trees in Sugar River Alder last winter because they were not native to that particular location.
23. For a permit hunt or because of flooding.
24. I became interested when I saw in the legal notices, an invitation to submit a bid to the WCFPD to plant trees in the Crooked River Forest Preserve. I wondered why on earth the FOREST PRESERVE would need to HIRE a landscaper to PLANT TREES. Then I wondered where the Crooked River Forest Preserve was. I was aghast when I found out that the taxpayers had actually paid for that piece of property and would now have to “restore” and maintain it.
26. My husband helped me recycle old signs by repainting them. He also put most of them up. I only have about 9 or 10 signs and some flyers I have printed at home and handed out. I have no “campaign workers.” I have made my position clear when speaking (Blackhawk Sierra Club, Rockford Labor Union, IBEW Local 15, Rotary) responding to questionnaires from the Rockford Register Star and the WCFPD, responding to a request from Chuck Sweeney (edited to his slant) and by sending emails to friends. The Republicans did not send me a questionnaire because Jan Klaus knows I am a Libertarian but somehow they were able to give me a mediocre 3 rating.
1. I would not support asking voters for a referendum as long as the Board continues to be irresponsible by approving Appropriation Budgets with deficit spending. We must get our own house in order first. Land comes to us through a variety of ways which do not require us to spend much, if any money. It is the cost of parking lots, restrooms etc. and continued maintenance which are ongoing and expensive. I do not see the need for a referendum. We need to reduce spending first.
2. Four parks have campsites and from the figures I have seen from some of the meetings I have attended, the camping and the shelters don’t seem to be big revenue generators. I don’t know what the camp hosts get paid, but considering the maintenance factors, I believe this is currently a break even situation at best.
4. We certainly should allow some type of hunting in the forest preserve to offset the unnatural, but necessary, grain farms which are near almost all our forest preserves. When the crops are removed from the fields, the deer are given little options but to go into the forest preserves and eat the vegetation. It is a man-made problem and we need man to solve the over-population. Why do we pay District personnel to harvest these deer when local volunteer sportsmen and women would be glad to help cull the herd? The DNR biologist has recommended deer reductions should take place in certain preserves for the health of the ecosystem to be sustained. The current method of harvesting is over bait piles at night. If you tried this on your own property, you would be spending a lot of money in fines and time in jail. The baiting method encourages muzzle-to-muzzle contact which likely propagates Chronic Wasting Disease, which is a prevalent problem in our area. We can do better.
We must make the reduction attractive to our sportsmen. If a gun season were to be used, having it after the first normal gun season would be best. If it coincided with the regular seasons, there would be fewer participants. This would have to be worked out with the DNR. If an archery season is used, we should have it coincide with the normal archery season. In either case, we should have a nominal charge of no more than $20 for county residents. Non-county residents should pay the same overages that non-residents pay to come to Illinois. Many times this is 10+ fold difference. They should pay dearly, because they contribute no money to our property tax base.
We shouldn’t enact the program into any preserves in which we are not currently doing our sharp shooting programs. We should require the hunters to gut the deer either off-site, or at a location which the public does not have access to. We should encourage, but not require (very important), donations to the local food banks of the venison. Both archery and firearm volunteers should be qualified at local ranges before the season begins.
5. I have been to all of them except about 5. I like the Kishwaukee area – Blackhawk Springs, Espenscheid and Rotary Parks. Their mature and diverse forests and riparian areas are very attractive.
6. Since our fiscal year ends on Oct 31st, the last complete year would be fiscal Nov. 2008- Oct 2009 and using our Annual Budget and Appropriations Ordinance, Total Revenues were estimated at $7,755,000 for that year and $10,005,000 was the estimate for Expenditures. The estimated difference between the two was $2,250,000. The actual difference in expenditures over revenues, was $885,371, based on the Annual Financial Report (Fiscal Year Ended October 31, 2009) which I was able to secure from the District. It seems most of the differences were in the administration, maintenance, supplies, and capital outlay areas compared to the planned budget. The current year 2009-2010, and the coming year 2010-2011, both plan to spend more than we take in. Reversing this trend is the new Board’s biggest challenge.
As for marketing, it is not possible to determine what has been spent in the past with the documents I have currently. Our best dollar would be spent where the larger majority of active people can see our efforts. The information age takes us to the internet and the website, and I think our website has some obvious weaknesses. We could add videos and more photos, more links and cross-links, and our reporting on the regular District meetings have unacceptable time delays regarding the meeting minutes.
I think linking the trail systems together and making this area a noted place to visit for biking has a strong interest to me. Helping the Rock, Sugar, Pecatonica and the Kishwaukee Rivers become places to visit via canoe rental trips should be more strongly encouraged with private businesses, volunteers or clubs. People usually need help getting picked up or dropped off when making a one-way trip with a canoe or kayak. We could use our website as a place for private businesses to advertise their services for a fee.
7. I have made a pledge on my website (www.winnebagocounty2010.com) and on the WCFPD website to not accept ANY donations or fundraiser dollars. I will not subject myself to any person or group looking for payback favors when I am in office.
8. It involves working with the natural landscapes and existing features when looking to make enhancements. Keeping natural vegetation and water sheds intact and working with them is important. Also working to keep our buildings as energy efficient as possible should always be a goal with passive solar (and maybe active solar) features.
9. It is where the landowner agrees to keep his property as an agricultural endeavor, seemingly forever, even on to the next owner. In exchange for this agreement, the land owner keeps a lower tax status since the property can not be developed for a subdivision. This is also a tactic used in conjunction with conservation easements where habitat is preserved through programs offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I would say these are good ideas, but maybe the agreement should be for 99 years, and then reviewed again.
10. I love all four Rivers; the Rock, the Kishwaukee, the Sugar and the Pecatonica. I am most familiar with the Sugar, so I would choose it as my favorite, but they are all uniquely different and wonderful.
11. The District already has ways to shift funds around to make purchases in their own budget. I witnessed them make a purchase of $45,000 in 2010 when only $1,200 was allocated into the land acquisition budget. Can you do this in your own household budget? It is an accounting shell game. At the end of the year, we have spent more than what we have taken in. We have to stop our over-spending appetite. We have access to grants, to public land transfers, to private land conservation group donations, and to gifted properties all without spending full price for property acquisition. However, many times it is the upgrades after the purchase which costs the district a lot of money. Let’s not forget, every piece of land taken into the District, or any other government body, is another piece of land which does not contribute to property tax collections. We must be very selective and purposeful if we are to acquire any more property.
12. I would support it if the local landowners supported it. It should not be forced upon anyone. These units are bigger than they appear when you actually get right up next to one. I do not think they pose any great dangers to birds as some people have speculated. It seems most developers want to put up an entire system rather than just a few windmills. I would want to see an economical return to the local people’s benefit rather than seeing it merely go to supply metro Chicago.
13. I believe my favorite author is Moses, under the direction of God. If you disagree, read the account of the creation in Genesis and imagine in your own mind’s eye what happened when He created every star, planet, creature, fish, bird, plant, river or rock you see, or will ever see, in a mere six days.
14. Most properties near forest preserves have some sort of development adjacent to them, even if it is only agricultural. Some properties are in floodplain areas where many types of permenant structures would be considered to be inappropriate. Zoning and current building laws apply to properties adjacent to the preserves and I don’t see any reason to alter these laws.
15. I work at Ingersoll Cutting Tool Company and have been there since 1985.
16. My wife works for Haldex Hydraulics and has been there since 2002.
17. No, I have no relatives living in the county or doing business in Winnebago County.
18. I believe our policy is no more than 10% over fair-market value is allowed to be paid. I would take that down to ONLY fair market value. Also be aware, this new board will have the power to enact eminent domain if it so chooses. I will never vote to take away someone’s property. It goes against everything I know to be right and true as a man and as an American.
19. Wetlands have value as recreational property, timber harvesting, or cattle grazing. So property has its value set by the free market system. Since I believe we have a long way to go before we are stable enough or have reason to purchase a lot of property, I would only say the value is what the free market would determine. The Nygren Wetland could probably become ours at some time in the future through donation.
20. I think the Board should set the direction for the Executive Director to follow and resist reviewing everything unless things are not running smoothly or responsibly. I would be willing to consider privatization of any or all services if it meant better value to the taxpayer without decreasing quality, safety, or their access to the parks.
21. Natural species, in any ecosystem, are always desired. Whether it is flora or fauna, non-native species, although well intentioned, can never be fully studied well enough to predict their impact on an ecosystem where they are released to the wild. Usually the results are not positive and once Pandora’s Box has been opened, it is often unable to be closed again. Keeping our natural, native species strong and re-populated when necessary is more beneficial than trying to rid a system of an invader species.
22. Sustainability is the term applied to an ecosystem in which mankind does its best to keep the natural diversity of living things and geological features intact and in balance. These systems intertwine with our own health and well being so much that ignoring them and their place in our environment would cause our own health and well being to be at risk.
23. I am not sure of the intent of this question. Certain parts of certain preserves are already closed for short times such as when a controlled burn is taking place or when a golf course is flooded or simply too wet to play. We lease some parts of a very few preserves for agriculture practices and when that activity is taking place it is not advised to be there. If there were to be deer hunting in certain parts of our preserves there are laws which prohibit interfering with that activity by non-hunters. I think proper respect and normal social behavior would keep most things in order. If there were access restrictions due to flora habitat endangerment or breeding/nesting situations, I think closure would be in order for such a time as is necessary to protect our resources.
24. I have been to most all the board meetings for over a year and I believe the spending has to be reigned in. In fiscal 2008-2009, we actually spent $885,000 more than we took in. We took it out of savings. That is the taxpayer’s money. This can not continue to happen, and yet, the plan for the past three fiscal Appropriation Budgets for the WCFPD has had us spending more than we have taken in. That is a plan to fail.
I am a taxpayer’s advocate and I will bring a very sharp pencil to the table and not allow such rainy-day budgets to continue. We must reign in the spending or find new ways to gain revenue or volunteerism without raising taxes. We can not expect residents to bear the burdens of our over-spending. Painful cuts may be a necessary evil.
25. No one ever suggested it to me directly. I was interested in this office for years, but I did not want to become a County Board member. I was convinced to run on August 7, 2009, when I was attending a Forest Preserve meeting and witnessed Frank Schier be denied the opportunity to speak to the Board. For what possible reason would the Board deny a man 3 minutes to speak? It smacks of irresponsibility, pompousness, and arrogance. The public should always have a right to address the board. I continued to go to meetings and fortunatly, the denial to speak was never repeated on any others. When I asked for an opportunity to speak, I was allowed.
26. I only have myself and my wife Becky.
1. Information released by the Land Trust Alliance in 2009 states the in the United States we lose approximately 2 million acres of open space each year to development – nearly 6,000 acres a day. It is important that land preservation organizations – both public and private – try to stay ahead of the curve and continue to preserve land in advance of development.
Having said that, I do not favor a tax increase to address current budget issues or to obtain additional land for Forest Preserve purposes at this time. Everywhere you look in our communities, homes are for sale in great numbers and foreclosures are at an all-time high. While a referendum has been discussed, I believe there are many other revenue streams available. For example, the Forest Preserve was recently successful in acquiring a large portion of the funds used to acquire the Butterworth property in the Kinnikinnick Preserve through a grant.
While referendums for land acquisition have been overwhelmingly successful in a number of the collar counties, I think a lot of work needs to be done before a referendum could be mounted in Winnebago County. In order for a referendum to be successful, the voters first need to understand the purpose of the organization, be aware of the benefits it provides (now and for future generations), and also to understand why the Forest Preserve should continue to acquire land in the future. Much of the public seems unaware of Forest Preserve holdings and programs, so that needs to be addressed first and foremost. It is very expensive to mount a referendum, and if you don’t have your ducks in a row, you will not be successful.
Before pursuing a referendum, especially in these financially troubling times for so many in the county, I would pursue other forms of funding. There are a number of grants for land acquisition – the Vital Lands program of the Grand Victoria Foundation, Illinois Clean Energy grants, OSLAD grants from the IDNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife funds. There are private funds that could also be pursued, and I would like to see a Friends of the Forest Preserve non-profit arm formed to pursue private foundation grants and corporate gifts. Other forms of revenue that could be pursued include sponsorships and naming opportunities much as the Rockford Park District has done.
One way to increase open space availability inexpensively is to develop greater connectivity of existing open spaces. I would like to see the Forest Preserve work with the other land conservation groups to pursue a greater connectivity of existing open spaces countywide through deeded access, easements, or memorandums of understanding. A lot of this work could be done electronically using the county’s GIS system. This would enable more people and groups to have access to our open lands throughout the county.
After all other forms of non-tax revenue are explored and utilized, if the Board and staff decide that a referendum is the only remaining way to raise funds to acquire new lands, I would support the effort to let the voters decide, but only after a massive public education program. Whether elected or not, I would be happy to assist in helping to plan and implement a referendum campaign, should the Board ultimately decide to move in that direction.
2. The Sugar River Forest Preserve has 12 primitive campsites. Youth primitive campsites are available at Sugar River, Hononegah, Rotary and Seward Bluffs, for use by scouts, etc. I would definitely support more primitive campsites, especially for people using the rivers Primitive campsites would provide some revenue to offset the subsidies for the managed campsites for RV’s, etc.
3. The Forest Preserve has three golf courses – Atwood, Macktown and the Ledges. In the 1970s, Atwood and Macktown were experiencing over 50,000 rounds a year, and tee times were difficult to obtain. When the Ledges became available, the Forest Preserve was able to purchase it for under $500,000.
Forest Preserve golf courses have historically provided affordable recreation, and they preserve open space in keeping with the mission of the Forest Preserve. The county’s three courses are located in the growth corridors of the county and serve the rural, as well as the urban populations of the county. Public courses are still viable in this county, as they provide an option for those unable to afford country clubs or private course fees.
Up until two years ago, user fees paid for the operations of the courses. One of the challenges facing the new board is how to pay for capital improvements moving forward. I would not consider closing or expanding any courses until the new Board has time to look at the funding of the courses and develop a long-range plan of action for the courses to determine if all three courses are sustainable.
I believe that the county golf courses have served large numbers of the population over the decades, and the new Board needs to determine how to maintain them into the future, including developing new golfers of all ages and enhancing revenue streams through such activities as sponsorships and naming opportunities.
4. Although I personally not a big fan of hunting, I am open to consideration of a hunting program in those preserves where deer are causing damage in order to cull the herd. Deer browsing causes extreme damage to a preserve’s under story, which in turn is a source of life support for many other plants and animals. Such a program would have to be carefully structured to take into consideration liability issues, overall safety for both hunters and other preserve users, and methods of participation. Local hunters could replace the sharpshooters currently being used to cull the herds.
I would see such a program beginning as a pilot program. Hunters on FPD lands should have to pass a marksmen’s test to demonstrate that they can shoot accurately. The same should be required of bow and arrow hunters.
If a hunting program were to be initiated, it would be my hope that a relationship could be developed where the participating sportsmen would then donate funds and volunteer hours to the Forest Preserve for anything from hunter education programs for youth to invasive species removal. Partnering with local organizations could also insure the success of such a program. At this point, I am not prepared to recommend what the charge would be.
5. I have been to all but two – I have not yet been to Deer Run or Grove Creek. I think probably my first favorite is Pec Wetlands – I spend a lot of time there with my camera. Another big time favorite is Severson Dells, especially because of the Severson Dells Outdoor Education program and all the opportunities it affords youth to get in touch with nature. I love Klehm for the opportunity to see the native trees, especially in the spring. Laona Heights is special because of the wonderful old CCC building. Sugar River is always a great place to go. A bunch of us had Thanksgiving breakfast cookout there one year – it was a great way to start the day – giving thanks for the beauty around us. Tomorrow I will be riding with Drake Branca, Director of Operations, to learn first hand some of the issues he is facing with overall management of the Preserves.
6. The 2010 budget was $8,756,000. The 2011 budget is $7,428,000. The amount budgeted for marketing and community relations in the coming year is $200,300. I would like to see the Forest Preserve use the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Northern Illinois Tourism Council to help with marketing the organization regionally and statewide. There are grants available from the Illinois Bureau of Tourism, which can be requested if overnight stays are involved. That is one of the challenges of the “Rural Lifestyles” initiative which includes eco-tourism – to create opportunities for people to come to Winnebago County to spend the weekend (overnight stay) and take advantage of our Forest Preserves and rural artists, local food providers, antique stores, etc. as a package of activities.
Marketing is obviously a very important function of the Forest Preserve. It should be well funded. Working cooperatively with others will help stretch those funds. The new Board needs to work with staff to come up with new ways to expose our constituency to the Forest Preserve properties. With all the soccer families that come to the county every year, is there a way to market to them? Working with groups such as IGNITE and the Next Rockford groups to hold events in the Forest Preserves is a possibility. A Chamber After- Hours for the Rockford, Roscoe and Rockton Chambers in a forest preserve would also create awareness. It might be helpful if the new Board created a Marketing Committee to assist with marketing ideas and events.
7. I do not and would never accept campaign donations from anyone who may someday have an interest in developing or selling land that should be preserved, including prime ag lands or any other open space areas. It is not appropriate for me, because I would never place myself in a position of feeling that I was indebted to such contributors, and thereby might feel I would need to take a “second look” at their proposal. If elected, I would always want to be able to vote my conscience and to do what I think is right for the environment – the gift from which all else flows.
8. Conservation design is a process of cluster-type development that enables a portion of the land to be developed while simultaneously preserving open space, reducing environmental impacts, capturing stormwater runoff, and creating great neighborhoods in which to live. This is accomplished through a creative design process that identifies areas to be conserved which might include ag land, forests, steep slopes, wetlands or other natural areas. It places homes to maximize views of green space and connection to designed open space. A key goal that is often overlooked is the green infrastructure value, which is designed to preserve predevelopment stormwater flow patterns and to detain and infiltrate stormwater on site.
Conservation design is attractive because it allows subdivision dwellers to interact with green spaces and natural areas where they live. A recent approach to using this type of principle in ag areas requires those wishing to build an additional house on a farm to put adjoining land into a permanent agricultural (conservation) easement.
9. An agricultural easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a non-profit organization or a government agency that restricts use of the land to agricultural production. These easements protect agricultural lands and ensure that good farmland will remain available for farming forever. Legally, an agricultural easement is a form of a conservation easement but is often crafted differently.
The primary goal of a conservation easement is to preserve open space, scenic vistas, or wildlife habitat. The Natural Land Institute uses conservation easements as a cost-effective way to protect natural areas. Similar goals are served through an agricultural easement. But with any agricultural easement, the primary goal is to keep good land available for future farming, and this usually requires more flexibility than with conservation easements. For example, provisions that allow for agricultural buildings, fencing, and land clearing could possibly be included in the provisions.
The Winnebago County Soil and Water District currently holds an agricultural easement dating back many years. More recently, the Natural Land Institute has worked with the Soil and Water District to hold agricultural easements, while NLI will continue to seek and hold conservation easements that protect land for other than agricultural purposes. I am very much in favor of agricultural easements as a way to protect agricultural land, since it seems that Land Use plans and elected officials oftentimes do not, when faced with development prospects.
10. There are four rivers in Winnebago County – Rock, Sugar, Pec and Kishwaukee. I love the Rock because it majestically connects county communities from the north to the south end of the county and offers such rich possibilities for interaction with people in the downtown area. I especially revere the Pecatonica where it runs through Nygren Wetland Preserve. Because of the restored wetlands off the Pecatonica at Nygren, hundreds of acres of functioning floodplain preserved in perpetuity store large amounts of floodwater during periods of high rainfall. Wetlands increase the ability to maintain clean water for local communities by filtering pollutants and excess nutrients out of the water. It is a valuable resource for our county in many ways. I love the Sugar for its natural beauty. It’s been a while since I have canoed the Sugar, but the riverscape is one of my favorites. The beauty of the Kishwaukee will only be enhanced with the additional Knox property. The connectivity of the open spaces along the Kish makes it truly spectacular for its users. I simply cannot pick just one – sorry.
11. As a member of the Natural Land Institute Board of Trustees, I have seen how land can be preserved without using local tax dollars. NLI has been very successful in using grants (Grand Victoria Vital Lands, IL Clean Energy, IDNR and more) to acquire land year in and year out. A Friends of the Forest Preserve could be formed as a not-for-profit arm to seek foundation and corporate grants. They could also seek private donations, which NLI has done very successfully, as well. The Rockford Park District has very successfully used naming opportunities and sponsoring programs to help fund their programs, and I think such programs could be used to fund land acquisition, as well. I would support exploring all of the above programs for land acquisition before using local tax dollars.
12. While I am definitely in favor of using as many forms of alternative energy as possible to get our country off fossil fuels, I am not a supporter of the large turbines that constitute today’s wind farms. I have grave concern about their affect on bird populations, and while early statistics said this was not a concern, more recent reports are saying otherwise. When Winnebago County decided to look at putting a wind farm in southwestern Winnebago County, I did extensive research on my own, and I came to the conclusion because of our large flocks of migratory birds and because we are a flyway for the Operation Migration whooping cranes, that this was not the answer for our county. Other more non-invasive forms of capturing wind are being quickly developed, and I am hoping that these will become an alternative to the massive wind farms that are currently being constructed.
13. Definitely Rachel Carson. The overall message of Silent Spring is as relevant today as when it was published. She closes her book by urging us to give up our misguided fight against nature. Because ignorance may bring disaster, Carson emphasies our obligation to gain knowledge and shape our actions accordingly, so that we may endure. We must work with natural processes instead of against them. No less than the destruction or preservation of the earth is our choice.
Speaking at the 1962 Scripps College commencement, Carson’s eloquent closing statement in discussing man’s relationship to the environment is equally relevant today: “Your generation must come to terms with the environment. Your generation must face realities instead of taking refuge in ignorance and evasion of truth. Yours is a grave and a sobering responsibility, but it is also a shining opportunity. You go out into a world where mankind is challenged, as it has never been challenged before, to prove its maturity and its mastery—not of nature, but of itself. Therein lies our hope and our destiny. In today already walks tomorrow.”
After her death in 1964, the text of her earlier article – Help your Child to Wonder – was made into a large-format, glossy book illustrated with large number of photographs entitled The Sense of Wonder. The book is a statement of Carson’s basic philosophy. Her intent was to teach adults how to keep alive a child’s sense of wonder while at the same time rediscovering their own sense of the “joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” This in itself could be a guiding principle of the Forest Preserve.
14. All natural areas should be buffered from development. The Forest Preserve should explore using local, state and federal programs to protect and acquire high priority buffer areas. NRCS provides technical assistance and funding for land conservation projects and the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program could be a valuable partner in pursing Buffer zones. A good example of what can happen when buffer zones are not created is what has happened at Rock Cut State Park, where development is encroaching right up to the boundaries of the park. The County’s 2030 Land Use Plan Ordinance needs strong language to require buffer zones to protect existing natural areas.
15. I currently own a small business called MarketWorks, which does marketing and event planning. It has been in existence three years. Currently, a large portion of my time is spent working on Natural Land Institute fund-raising projects, as we, like many organizations, are challenged with meeting our yearly expenses.
16. I am not married.
17. No I do not.
18. Yes, I would. Land acquisitions that are acquired through grants have very stringent requirements about how much is paid for that land. Appraisals are required which estimate the fair market value of the land, with some room allowed for negotiation.
A similar process is also followed by the Forest Preserve District through the Land Advisory Council.
19. Wetlands occupy the areas between land and water habitats and have developed ecosystems that are uniquely their own. Recent surveys document that more than 100 of the 172 families of vascular plants that occur naturally in Illinois contain species that thrive in aquatic or moist-soil habitats. The plant and animal communities found in wetlands are extremely complex and are tied to one another through nutrient cycles and food webs.
Direct use benefits include recreation (boating, birding, wildlife viewing, hiking, fishing), trapping and hunting, and commercial harvest (nuts berries, grains, fish, peat, forestry). Indirect benefits include flood control, groundwater recharge, water filtration, erosion control, nutrient retention, microclimate stabilization and in some cases, shoreline protection.
Two ways to monetarily value wetlands is through market value or through a willingness to pay. Although wetlands provide many valuable ecosystem functions that provide public benefits, they are generally valued less than farmland and woodlands for monetary purposes because they cannot be easily developed or farmed.
20. I believe it is important to review bids and contracts on a regular basis. When considering expenditures, I think that privatization of services or sharing of services with other governmental entities should always be a part of the consideration. I enjoy the challenge of looking for new, creative, non-tax ways to fund services for government.
21. Natural resource inventories fulfill a number of purposes. They can be used to guide development of goals and strategies for resource conservation and management, to identify priorities for resource conservation, to evaluate current natural resource management practices, to guide policy development and to provide information for parks, open space, trails and/or greenway planning. The state is currently updating the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory that will be a good tool for the future.
Natural species inventories serve to inventory species present in an area and to monitor species of concern and interest, and overall biological diversity across specific or large areas. The important thing about the natural species inventory for it to have continuing value is to be able to repeat the study to see changes in species present. I believe that provide great value as planning tools and are worth the expense.
22. My favorite definition of sustainability comes from the Green Communities Environmental Vision follows: Sustainability is not “a thing we do” or “a program we carry out.” Instead it is a process by which we reason and a way we choose to live. Sustainability should be viewed as a philosophy or ethic, affording people the ability to consider the long-term consequences of their actions and to think broadly across the issues, disciplines and boundaries. As a process, sustainable community development exposes citizens to the ramifications of their thoughts and actions on others, their environment, and the surrounding landscape, as well as motivating and organizing people to direct change within the context of a responsible and shared vision for a collective future.
In other words, what we do today impacts the world that our future generations will live in, and we should act accordingly.
23. There could be a number of reasons to close off a section of forest preserve including flooding, safety, restoration, repairs to trails and visitor facilities, trail damage from overuse, trampling of vegetation, overuse or misuse by ATV or equestrians, bear or other animals dangerous to children and pets, to protect nesting birds, during prescribed burns, storm damage. The preserves should only be closed as long as needed for the function/activity to be performed.
24. “The newly elected Board of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District needs a governance structure of individuals with the passion, interest, and conviction to provide the vision and leadership for the district to fulfill its mission and improve the quality of life”. I really would like to be a part of building this new Board for the Forest Preservem and I sincerely hope that my experience in local government and working with local environmental organizations, as well as my work in long-range planning and visioning for a number of organizations, gives me the governance and budgeting background, creative thinking and strategic planning skills needed to serve in this position.
I believe that the Forest Preserve’s mission of assuring public access to natural lands and areas for safe and enjoyable outdoor recreation and education becomes increasingly important as the county continues to develop. Not only is a high quality environment a key to economic development, but conservation assures the basic ecosystem necessary to our quality of life (water supply, clean air, and soil quality). As citizens of Winnebago County, we need to work together to continue to develop this balance of open space and natural areas with development.
I am very concerned that our young people today are becoming more and more disenfranchised with the natural world around them. I would like to develop a Leave No Child Inside program for the Forest Preserve District to work with other environmental groups to begin getting our youth involved with nature again.
And lastly, I would like to develop an increased community awareness of the mission and purpose of the Forest Preserve, so that people can continue to access these wonderful areas that have been preserved for their use. I have worked for years to elevate the importance of land preservation as a community-wide issue, and, as a Forest Preserve Commissioner, I would continue that effort.
My Related experiences include:
* Natural Land Institute Board of Trustees since 2004 (Board President for the past two and a half years)
* Winnebago County Soil and Water District – Elected Director since 2000
* Secured grant for and coordinated Winnebago County’s “Rock River Valley Green Communities Environmental Vision” project. Prepared final report for the community.
* Winnebago County 2030 Land Use Plan – Steering Committee member.
* Coordinated the June 2010 “Sustainable Communities” conference.
* Completed the “Master Naturalist” course through the U of I Cooperative Extension
* Served as Winnebago County Board member for northwest Rockford until 1999
* A long-time passion for the natural world around us, with a desire to continue to preserve open spaces and natural areas for future generations.
My stated goals for the position are as follows:
1. To survey the citizens of the county to better understand what services they would like to see the Forest Preserve provide and to better market the organization.
2. To strengthen the Forest Preserve by prioritizing existing expenditures and by developing new (non-tax) sources of funding for any future land acquisition.
3. To develop a collaborative “Leave No Child Inside” program of outdoor experiences for our youth through the schools (in cooperation with other environmental education groups).
4. To develop greater connectivity of all open spaces and natural areas through a collaborative effort to provide more access for the citizens of the county, as well as for special interest groups, such as equestrians.
5. To continue to provide a high standard of services through fee-based programs and other non-tax revenues, such as sponsorships and naming opportunities.
6. To develop a “Friends of the Forest Preserve” not-for-profit arm to seek new funding and to provide volunteer support for the organization.
25. I had discussions with a number of people about running for this office.
26. My Campaign Manager is Nancy Lundstrom, who I have worked with for over 20 years. Her husband, Roger, is my campaign treasurer (he is treasurer for Burpee Natural History Museum as well). My donors are my friends of my parents and friends of mine.
I would be happy to email you the list, if you would like to see all the names.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my views.
Randal L. Olson
1. The District mission and goal to acquire new properties will be a major challenge and the board will possibly faced the question of referendum as early as next year. I don’t believe its any boards decision on whether to raise or to not raise the property tax levy, but it is our responsibility to give the voter the right to decide. The District currently owns 9,500 acres and has 41 preserves and has designated another approximately 11,000 acres for conservation purposes. I agree that the District should move forward in that direction, but it’s not necessary that the District owns all the property, but should work with private owners and other conservation groups to meet our goals.
2. I support additional primitive campsites. These are relatively inexpensive to build and will generate a moderate income for the Forest Preserve District.
3. The Forest Preserve currently has (3) top-notch golf courses. Golf is probably the most troubling and costly problem the District will have to deal with. The golf courses and especially the clubhouses have suffered major deterioration over the years. It was estimated a few years back that the District is looking at millions of dollars to complete the recommended updates and repairs. There has been various discussions about closing, leasing and even possibly trading for other properties. The golf courses have been the pride of the Forest Preserve for years and the board needs to be cautious on any major changes and realized the consequences prior to making a final decision.
4. The issue of hunting in the Forest Preserve goes back as far as I can remember on the County Board. Before this issue can be address I believe the new board is going to have to understand there is a difference between recreational hunting and deer reduction. I would favor both programs with a controlled hunt in some of our remote preserves during the regular hunting seasons and a deer reduction program late in the year with a special permit from the DNR. I believe both programs can be performed with citizen hunters and would generate income instead of cost to the Forest Preserve District. Safety and the rights of others to use the preserves would have to be the number one priority for this program to be successful.
5. I have visited all of the properties own by the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District and Macktown is my favorite property due to its historical background.
6. Roughly (7) million dollars and I would support 1% of the total budget for the marketing and to promote public awareness and the opportunity available in our preserves.
7. I accept no campaign donations.
8. A design concept protects the environment, our watersheds, protects farmland and improves quality of life.
9. A conservation easement is a restriction placed on a piece of property to protect the resources associated with the parcel.
10. There are a total of (4) rivers in Winnebago County and I like the Pecatonica River the best.
11. It’s not necessary that the District owns all the property, but we should work with private owners and other conservation groups to meet our goals. An example is the Forest Preserve District has recently joined into an agreement with the Rockford Airport for approximately 800 acres South of the airport.
12. I oppose the placement of any wind farms in Winnebago County.
13. I do not have one.
15. Winnebago County Air Support Unit. (1) Year in November 2010.
16. Married, wife is not employed.
18. I have been the boards watchdog since I was elected to the County Board. As the chairman of the Forest Preserve Committee, I sponsored and passed a resolution requiring the Forest Preserve District to pay no more than fair-market value.
19. In my experience wetlands and river bottom properties in the last 10 years have maintained the same value as agricultural land, but industrial and residential use will always increase the value. This is why individuals that our looking to preserve their agricultural properties should consider an agriculture easement.
21. I do not have a complete list of Winnebago Counties Natural resource inventories, but they were considered in the 2030 plan and I believe in the Winnebago/Boone Counties Greenways plan. I don’t have knowledge to determine if they’re cost-effective.
22. In simple terms a capacity to endure.
23. I am not sure I understand the question. But the only reason to close off any area from the public, from land they own would be to preserve or protect the property, Eco-system or endangered species that might occupy the area.
24. I am running because I started the process to separate the Forest Preserve District from the County Board. My goal is to complete my mission and bring leadership and experience to the new board.
25. No one suggested I run for this office.
26. Dave Fiduccia, Paul Galluzzo and Dan Gray have helped me put up signs. I have accepted no financial support for my campaign.
1. Yes, I would support a tax referendum only for the acquisition of “prime” land in key areas adjacent to or bordering the current forest preserve lands. Otherwise, I would not support a tax increase for balancing the budget, increased spending or land acquisition in other areas.
2. I believe only four forest preserves currently have campsites not including Rockford Rotary which, at one time, had a youth camp facility. I believe that additional campsites could provide more revenue with an increase in permits and the sale of camping materials; however, the WCFPD does not currently have an additional site suitable to include camping. All other sites owned by the WCFPD are either utilized for other primary purposes or simply do not have the facilities to support additional campsites.
3. Three. I do not support the closure or expansion of any of the golf courses at this time. Currently the WCFPD golf courses are struggling to support themselves financially however, I believe that closing any of these courses is not the answer. I think that electing a new board of commissioners will bring an opportunity to look at thing differently an bring new ideas to the table.
4. I would support hunting in certain forest preserves at certain times, only after I am convinced that the animal population (in most cases deer) is damaging itself. Currently the WCFPD has hired sharpshooters to control some of the deer populations at an expense to the taxpayers. I do believe that if it is found that deer, or other animal species, need to be controlled by hunting or trapping, I would first and foremost look at ways to do so as a means of revenue instead of an expense.
5. I have visited either 28 or 29 of the 41 preserves and parks. My favorite park was at one time the Kishwaukee Forest Preserves but lately I prefer Oak Ridge. I grew up next door to the Kishwaukee River and spent many days and nights of my childhood playing and exploring the network of preserves along the Kishwaukee River, but as an adult, I prefer the longer and more secluded hiking trails of Oakridge and Deer Run Forest Preserves.
6. I believe the budget for last year was somewhere around 7 million dollars. I think a reasonable amount of the budget should be used for tourism and marketing strategies to bring in children and increase awareness of the educational opportunities that the WCFPD offers. However, a fine line must not be crossed to overcrowd any of the preserves just for the sake of bringing in visitors. The forest preserves offer a wide variety of amenities and special features for many citizens of Winnebago County, and those features should be advertised throughout Winnebago County and the surrounding regions.
7. I have not accepted a single dollar towards my campaign from anyone, personal or professional, and I would question the integrity of any candidate that would accept any campaign contributions for a position on this board. This position is a non-paid, non-partisan position that should only be sought with the intention of preservation and conservation of lands throughout Winnebago County. Any candidate running for this position accepting campaign donations from organizations such as these should not be considered for this board.
8. Conservation design also known as Conservation Development is primarily the act of maintaining a balance of open space within and around development sites; usually maintaining a minimum of 50% open space. Management and ownership of the land is often a partnership formed between the private land owners, land-use conservation organizations and local government.
9. From my understanding agricultural easements are voluntary restrictions on the use of privately owned land. They are flexible documents that can be modified to incorporate the particular interests of both the farmer and a qualified organization like a land trust. Agricultural easements are designed to uphold the agricultural uses of the land, while allowing broad discretion to the farmer on how to farm.
10. Four; Kishwaukee (North and South branches), Pecatonica, Sugar, and Rock, as well as numerous other creeks, streams and brooks. My favorite would have to be the Kishwaukee (primarily the South branch). I grew up on that river and know it well. It is very secluded and offers the greatest sanctuary to wildlife and native species than the other three rivers in Winnebago County.
11. These are just some of the methods that could be used, and they are listed in my order of preference: 1. Donations – Allows the citizens of Winnebago County to take ownership of our natural lands and preservation areas. 2. Grants – The State of Illinois and other organizations have many grants and other funding programs to take advantage of. 3. Fees and Permits – Acquiring fees and permits from residents who utilize the facilities and amenities is a fair and reasonable way to collect revenue. 4. Property tax levy – Currently the lowest tax levy in Winnebago County.
12. Yes. I believe that our dependence on oil is becoming greater and alternative methods must be found. I believe that wind farms are a good, clean and resourceful way of generating energy and are not invasive to the environment.
14. I support the development of property adjacent to or nearby a forest preserve as long as it is done in a respectful and responsible manner to the environment and the surrounding areas.
15. Production Maintenance Manager at the Rockford Register Star – 16 years
16. Swedish American Hospital – 18 years
19. I would rely on many different positions to accurately assess the value of property or land. However, wetlands throughout our community and region are becoming scarcer and in some areas overdeveloped. To accurately evaluate the monetary value of local wetlands is a complicated process and can only be done on a case by case basis. Wetlands currently owned by the WCFPD are crucial to the mission of the District and in my eyes are extremely valuable.
20. Absolutely, yes.
23. I don’t have any reason to do this at this time.
24. The primary reason I am running for this position is to ensure that the Forest Preserve District continues to do what it does best… acquire and preserve land for education and recreation. I grew up practically next door to the Kishwaukee Forest Preserve and spent a significant part of my childhood playing and exploring the vast array of forest preserves along the Kishwaukee River and I enjoy sharing these experiences with my children today. Some of these forest preserves have been in our community for a very long time and I will work very hard alongside the new board to ensure that they continue to be maintained and preserved for many future generations to enjoy.
The creation of this new board is a great way to separate any conflict of interest presently occurring within the County Board, it is not however, a reason to change the way things are being done. What the WCFPD has been doing since 1922 is working well, and as a newly elected board member I will strive to ensure that trend continues. I have a strong background in maintenance and repair, and I habitually rely on the motto “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
25. No one, I decided to run for this office not long after the legislation was changed allowing Winnebago County to govern its own Forest Preserve District separate from the County Board.
26. My family supports me and helps me put up yard signs and campaign for me. I do not have any outside financial supporters.
1. Not at this time.
2. None that I know of. I doubt primitive campsites could generate a lot of revenue, but they really wouldn’t have to. How costly could it be to provide primitive campsites? Every year I kayak in to a primitive camp in the Sylvania Wilderness Area in the U.P. The sites are…primitive. Without utilities, playgrounds, parking lots, etc, it seems primitive camping could easily pay for itself.
3. WCFPD should not be in the golf business. I would not expand any of them. Of the three, the first I would consider closing is the Ledges. Maybe the flooding and drainage issues should tell us something? Turn the land into a prairie and wetlands preserve. If the other two continue to be a financial drain, close them as well.
4. If I had a rat problem at home, why would I pay for an exterminator if I had someone willing to pay me to come take away the rats? If the science says the herd must be reduced, I would allow archery hunting, maybe handicapped firearm hunting. It would have to be very limited and very controlled, with an emphasis on safety and proficiency. I believe the BCCD requires archery hunters to place three arrows in a paper plate at twenty yards before they can participate. Perhaps we could charge to take the proficiency test, then also for the permit to hunt.
5. This summer/fall I visited all but six of the 41. I would have to say my favorites are the Kish Corridor parks. My wife and I walk our dogs at Deer Run several times a week, and I love the prairie wildflowers. McKiski preserve is right across the river from my subdivision, and my family and I have spent countless hours playing in the river there. My daughters, nieces, and nephew have learned a lot about nature seining for aquatic critters on hot summer days.
6. I think around 9.5 million dollars. I don’t have a percentage in my head, but I do think marketing could be improved. I don’t think that national marketing would be cost effective. I think the focus should be regional and statewide.
7. My “campaign” has been self funded. I would not accept donations from any of those groups, because their interests are NOT expressed by the Mission Statement of the WCFPD.
8. I’m going to guess that it is land development with the goal of having as little negative impact on the environment as possible.
9. I believe the riparin easements acquired by the Wisconsin DNR along creeks in the Driftless area are considered “agricultural easements”. The farmer still owns the land, but agrees to allow the DNR to environmentally improve or enhance it and allow public access.
10. By far, my favorite of the four is the Kish. I can paddle from Belvidere to Cherry Valley and see very little evidence of civilization. I love the clear water and gravel bottom. I love wading in it a seeing the crayfish and minnows scurry away. I love fly fishing for smallmouth bass for hours on end without seeing another human being.
11. Private donations, cooperation with other conservation groups, and grants.
12. Please explain your position. I have no position.
13. John Geirach is a flyfishing author that really puts the feeling of being on the water and the indescribable pull of moving water into words as good as any I’ve read.
14. I don’t “support” it, but I have no problem with residential development near WCFPD property. I support the 2030 Plan.
15. 23 years at the Rock River Water Reclamation District. Chief Engineering Construction Technician since 1997.
16. My wife Jill has worked for Rockford Surgical Services for five years.
19. It seems that the monetary value would be determined by the current owners use of the property. If a farmer can’t use land because it is too wet to farm efficiently, it should be less valuable to him than land he can farm. If a portion of a developer’s land cannot be developed due to flood plain issues, it should be less valuable to him.
21. I don’t know.
22. The ability to continue to exist without depleting resources.
23. I don’t know that I would.
24. I want to look out for our natural areas, particularly our rivers. The WCFPD seems to have been very proactive regarding land acquisition along riparian corridors, and I want to make sure that that remains a top priority.
26. My niece put me on Facebook and my mother-in-law (my biggest supporter), has been having a ball going door to door pasing out fliers.
Michael P. Eickman
1. I believe that a tax referendum would not pass with the economy the way it is at this time. I feel that there are other means available to raise moneys to purchase land. Grants, gifts and donations. Only as a last effort should a tax referendum be used and then I would support it.
2. There is only one preserve with primitive camp sites, Sugar River. If we could develop more sites it would be appropriate to charge the same as is currently charged, $10.00 per unit.
3. There are 3 golf courses, Macktown, Ledges and Atwood. I wouldn’t like to see any of them closed. The Ledges would be the one I would possibly expand by closing the holes that flood during heavy rains. Then constructing replacement holes in a tract across the road or adjacent available property.
4. Hunting in the preserves is a viable option and a revenue producer. However, I would only allow archery in the preserves. By issuing permits to those who wish to hunt and limiting the number of hunters per preserve we could control the harvest. Only using portable stand or ground stands which could be put up one week before season starts and removed one week after the season ends could be an option. I would charge a fee comparable to what the IDNR charges with the understanding that the deer have to be checked for CWD. The fee would be about $25.00 plus the hunter must also possess an Illinois deer archery tag.
5. I have visited 31 of the 41 preserves. Each one has its own special quality. My favorite is probably Colored Sands since I’ve spent about 20 year there during banding seasons at Sandbluff Bird Observatory, walking the trails and fields and enjoying what nature offers there.
6. For the 2010 budget the estimated total revenue was about 7.68 million dollars. About 3 to 4 percent should be spent on marketing within the local and regional area and statewide.
7. I have not nor would I ever accept campaign donations from realtors, construction companies or unions. It would not be ethical nor appropriate as I feel it could influence future decisions for construction projects and or land purchases.
8. Conservation design is used to determine what is being conserved as in a natural area and what methods can be used to best achieve the desired and final result for the good of nature.
9. An agricultural easement gives the farmer the right to farm the land for crops, livestock and to make decisions as to how it will be worked in the future. This is done so as to be able to pass the property down to future generations and protect properties from future development.
10. There are 4 rivers in Winnebago County the Pecatonica, Sugar, Rock, and Kishwaukee. Of these I favor the Sugar with its wanderings from Wisconsin to the meeting with the Pecatonica near Shirland. With bluffs overlooking the river in several spots. It is a gem.
11. Grants, donations and endowments are possible ways for WCFPD to raise funds to acquire new lands. Grants can come from state, federal or any number of charitable foundations.
12. Until more studies are conducted I am not in favor of wind farms. I feel that we need to regulate where and how they are placed and environmental impact studies need to be conducted to better understand their worth. Too many questions go unanswered as to the migration of birds and bats.
13. Aldo Leopold
14. I would not support development of commercial, industrial or large scale residential areas next to preserves. Preserves are usually situated near sensitive areas and need a buffer zone to protect the wildlife and fauna.
15. I am employed by Eickman’s Processing Co. Inc. for 40 years a family owned business and for the last 11 years as president and owner.
16. I am married. Deb has worked at Gordon Food Service for 7 years
18. Yes, it is the duty of the commissioner to do a good job of acquiring land and to be fair in the offers given to property owners.
19. Wetland is a sensitive area and should be valued no differently than agricultural areas, depending on the quality of the property and size of the area.
20. I would most assuredly check all contracts and bids but do not favor privatization of services.
21. Inventories list the resources and species found in our county and are valuable in letting us know what can be found, what is sensitive and what may be endangered before development removes them never to be seen again.
22. The ability of biological beings to reproduce and thrive in their habitat. A good environment has an ongoing presence in wetlands, forest, grasses and waters for continued life.
23. I would close off areas only if they are environmentally sensitive to prevent destruction of habitat. The length of time would depend on what is being protected and would need to be determined by consensus of other factors too numerous to go into at this time.
Bird Sanctuarys are an example.
24. I decided to run for this position because of my love of nature and want to see the WCFPD move forward and be the best nature has to offer. If we can get just one person more out to visit our parks maybe we will have another Leopold or Muir for the next generation. I also believe in the Mission and Purpose statements of the Forest Preserves and will continue to promote them even if not elected to the commissioner post.
25. It was my own decision.
26. My wife and one other person has given me good advice. Mike Eickman
Samuel P. Stanfa
2. Two have primitive campsites. Primitive sites could produce more revenue if primitive sites were offered on smaller rivers like the Sugar and Kish, where canoes abound.
3. The WCFPD has 3 golf courses. I would consider closing the Ledges due to high maintenance from frequent flooding. I would restore the preserve to a wetlands and prairie setting with trails and observation stations by utilizing cart trails and shelter houses already on site.
4. If culling of the deer herd was deemed necessary, I feel it would be reasonable to allow residential hunters to do the task. Charges, if any, would have to be researched.
5. I have visited 32 forest preserves. My favorite preserve is Oak Ridge because of the abundant wildlife, launch area and great trails.
6. The total budget for 2008-2009 was $8,255,632.00. An eco-tourism percentage should be .25%, and should be marketed locally and regionally.
7. No. I funded 100% of my campaign so I may join the Commission unencumbered by influence.
8. Conservation design is the protection, preservation and careful management of natural resources.
9. Agricultural easement is a legal agreement limiting the use of land permanently to agricultural or related use.
10. There are 5 rivers in Winnebago County. They are the Sugar, Rock, Pec, Kish, and the South Branch of the Kish. My favorite is the S. Kish due to its abundant wildlife and low usage.
11. Besides taxation, grants and donations along with fund-raisers would help support land acquisitions.
12. Yes. It adds to the farmer’s income, bringing in revenue locally and reduces our dependence on fossil fuel.
13. Julia Whitty.
14. In a perfect world: No.
15. Retired for 6 years.
16. Retired for 6 years.
18. I would always pay the lowest price possible.
19. In a commercial capacity, wetlands are useless for development, therefore would be worth less money as opposed to agricultural, industrial or residential property.
20. Yes. I would review all bids/contracts in force with WCFPD. The WCFPD employees have shown dedication, skills and a high level of integrity. Therefore, I would not consider privatization of services at this time.
21. Resource/species inventories identify the presence and location of wildlife and plant habitation. It serves as a guide for the layout of any development or restoration.
22. Sustainability applied to ecology describes how biological systems stay diverse and productive over time.
23. I would close off certain sections or entire land holdings to develop the natural ecology of the area. I would close it as long as human traffic would be harmful to its development. I would also close off certain areas affected by natural disasters such as floods, fires and storm damage until rectified.
24. I believe in public stewardship of our natural resources and see this as an opportunity to serve my community.
25. My wife.
26. Barb Giolitto is my campaign manager. My wife, Cecelia Christine (Burns) Stanfa and myself are the financial supporters.
Mary McNamara Bernsten
1. No. I would not put forward a referendum for taxes to acquire funds for land acquisition for the WCFPD at this time.
2. Winnebago County has 12 primitive campsites, all of which are located at Sugar River FP. While the supply of primitive campsites is limited in the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin area, the reservation rates for these campsites tend to be considerably lower. We should certainly evaluate our primitive campsites and how they might generate new revenue. Camping, generally, is an excellent way to promote the ‘Winnebago County Staycation’ idea, as well being a tourist attraction (to people from outside of Winnebago County). Both promotions of camping result in an opportunity for revenue for the WCFPD.
For more information regarding camping and the other amenities of the WCFPD please visit: http://www.wcfpd.org/activities/camping/
3. The WCFPD has 3 golf courses: Atwood Homestead, Ledges, and Macktown. I would not consider closing or expanding any of the courses at this time. Winnebago County, like much of the country, is seeing a contraction in golf. There is not enough evidence to support closures and no evidence to justify expansion.
4. Personally, I do not think the nature of hunting is in direct alignment with the mission of the Forest Preserve—to preserve and protect. However, at times, there is a need to protect certain species from one another (i.e. endangerment issues, population control). The issue of hunting and its revenue possibilities will be one of the challenges for the new WCFPD Commission, but at this time revenue, alone, is not reason enough to permit/promote hunting on WCFPD property.
5. 27. My favorite forest preserve is Laona Heights, with Seward Bluff being a close second. Laona Heights is north of Durand, on 19, and is an excellent example of the fortune of green space in Winnebago County and its underappreciation. There are 40 acres, 25 picnic tables, horseshoes, a shelter, a water pump, gorgeous trees that are wearing their age well, and an enormous open field—for baseball, football, or any other kind of outdoor game. I was blown away by Laona Heights. Seward Bluffs has it all—630 acres, camping, hiking, playground, shelter, water, equestrian trails, limestone cliffs with breathtaking views. Just out of the Rockford City limits, off US20.
6. Last year’s budget is not yet completed. The fiscal year for the WCFPD ends on October 31st and begins on November 1st. We were not given the previous year’s budget, but there is a clear picture of budgetary concerns and issues in the incomplete 2009-2010 budget. 2011’s budget was already passed by the Winnebago County Board. I would ask the staff to give the Commission a report in the first 30 days on our current marketing strategy; what are its goals and how is the effectiveness measured. Given the same dollars as the previous year, I would ask the Board to direct the marketing staff to come up with a local/regional marketing program using other agencies, institutions and businesses to collaborate in their efforts. The Board would review its effectiveness at the end of each season and fiscal year.
7. I have received many donations during my campaign—from friends, family and other enthusiastic residents of Winnebago County. For a full report, my file is on-line at www.elections.il.gov.
8. My understanding of conservation design is, simply put, a framework. Conservation design uses a systematic approach to the environment that determines where the work needs to be done, what needs to be conserved, what strategy will be used, and how effective other approaches have been.
9. It is a type of conservation easement (right to use) in which the parties agree to restrict the land use for farming / agricultural production. The duration of these easements may be permanent or for a limited term.
10. There are 4 major rivers are in Winnebago County—and many creeks. My favorite would have to be the Rock River because it is the central, unique element in our County that serves/entertains/rewards the largest number of residents. The Kishwaukee River is a close second—because as a child I spent a number of memorable summers at Atwood’s ‘Camp Lone Oak’.
11. Like so many other organizations, the WCFPD will need to consider alternative means for land acquisition. The funding sources for land, other than district bond funds, have been the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) grant program, Open Space Land Acquisition & Development (OSLAD) and recently, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF). OSLAD is a 50% matching grant, requiring the WCFPD to provide 50% of the funds; the ICECF is not.
We can seek grants from these public sources as well as private foundations, local, as well as regional and national. At the same time we can use partnerships with the Natural Land Institute and other conservation groups. Finally, we must continue to be good stewards of the resources we already possess, particularly those entrusted to us by land owners/philanthropists, and thus appeal to landowners of those parcels the WCFPD sees as vital to its mission.
12. I think we need to work with all agencies to determine potential sites for alternative energy sources. Wind is a major consideration. We need to research the wind patterns, and attempt to locate them first on the land that does not have a high agriculturally rated soil for farming.
13. My environmental studies include authors that are holistic in their scope: Any children’s book that opens my boys’ eyes to the wonder of nature and the importance of preserving and stewarding this gift: The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein) is a mainstay with the family. Omnivores Dilemma (Michael Pollan) has not left my bedside table in 10 months. Skinny Bitch (Freedman and Barnouin) was a pivotal look at what I am willing to put into my body. I am reading Last Child in the Woods (Richard Louv) which repeatedly makes the point of children’s health being directly related to their time spent in the outdoors—and much more.
Lastly, there was a special on John Muir on PBS that opened my eyes to the drastic environmental changes that have already taken place since Muir inhabited the Sierra Nevada region (and other natural areas) years ago.
14. Wherever possible, our preserves need buffers. But that is not always possible. The Kishwaukee Gorge is located directly at a major overpass and other forest preserves are in areas essential for future transportation, farming, or even development. A key factor is to carefully assess likely patterns of development essential to the economic health of the county while doing the same for the land. As a Forest Preserve Commissioner and as a resident of this community I feel it is critical to protect the natural environment from development, but not prevent development. Such potential future uses must be identified, mapped and published. And any proposal for development will face layers of scrutiny.
15. I am a full time stay at home mother; I teach private art lessons from my home; I work on a limited part-time basis at Poska, in Rockford.
16. My husband is an attorney and has been employed by First Rockford Group for 4+ years.
17. Aside from my husband’s employment (as a developer), I have no relatives whose current position would put them or me in a position of conflict of interest. I believe strongly that a public official must be open about potential conflicts of interest, and avoid even the appearance of any such impropriety. This would always be stated publicly if and when any potential appearance of impropriety surfaces and be addressed publicly. I will file a conflict of interest statement, like all board members of public bodies or non-profits.
18. Yes. But, each parcel of land needs an independent assessment of what the market is for the land in question. The WCFPD needs first to have an inventory of the land identified in our future plans as land we desire to have conserved, determine the ownership, its value for other uses, and then visit personally with the owner to discuss openly their goals and ours—and how advantages can be worked out for both parties.
19. I am not a qualified appraiser, but clearly land that can be developed as agricultural, industrial or residential will have a higher market value. However, I do know that the value of wetlands, to the WCFPD, is priceless. Wetlands are dense ecosystems that help to maintain the natural balance, serve as natural reservoirs for flooding, and serve as a breeding ground for plants and animals.
20. The board’s role is to direct the staff to prepare such a report and viable alternatives of delivering services and programs. We must always be open to new ideas and methods of delivering quality, cost-conscious services.
21. Species and resource inventories are crucial to our understanding of the local ecosystems’ present and future state. Inventories allow us to evaluate what species are thriving, barely surviving or dying. I am not a qualified biologist/ecologist—so, I am unsure on their cost-effectiveness. I would imagine that the knowledge gained from natural inventories has considerable value.
22. It is the capacity to endure—Sustainability basically describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. Wetlands and forests are good examples of sustainable systems. Sustainability can pertain to our social system, our ecosystems, agriculture, and economics.
23. Perhaps it could be done to protect an area from being ‘overused’/ ‘loved to death’. Or, an emergency might lead to closing an area for safety reasons and then those responsible for safety would be involved in the time-frame of the closure. This question is too open-ended to give a more meaningful answer.
24. I want to preserve and expand these areas of scenic beauty and protection of the plants and animals living in certain areas. Since returning to Rockford as an adult, I have found many assets in our region, specifically our county, to be ‘best kept secrets’; to me, that is never a tag-line to be sought or accepted. It simply means we are not promoting some of the most treasured resources in our County. Our forest preserves are such treasures; I think the lack of awareness of this resource leads to the lack of appreciation of what a wonderful city and area in which we live. We need to use the forest preserves and celebrate them collectively and individually as is appropriate.
25. Me. It was my idea to run for this office. When I spoke of it to my friends and family, I found great encouragement. I was raised in a family that believes in being active in your community and serving the public in any capacity we feel we can be of benefit. Currently, my husband and I serve this community through our chosen organizations—giving our time and leadership and sharing this experience with our children. I believe my youth and energy, and experience living in other communities, puts me in a good position to promote the incredible—undeniable—assets that led me to return to Winnebago County to raise our family.
26. Tom McNamara
John F. McNamara
I have filed and will continue to file all required lists of expenses, revenue, and supporters of my campaign at www.elections.il.gov
James B. Dunn
1. NO, if there is $ going to land acquisition it’s taking money away from something else (i.e. housing for vets) there are better ways to spend the money.
2. Doesn’t understand the term “primitive”. Yes, could raise more money, but would that deter people from using them?
3. 3. as of right now I wouldn’t consider closing any of them because I think it would cut back on jobs and personnel that they use to maintain the golf courses.
4. NO. A lot of people are using the fields for food. I Know people that hunt and then give the meat to rescue missions for food.
5. 7. My favorite is Seward Bluffs. It is absolutely gorgeous with the creeks, trees, and bluffs. It is a beautiful mental health area where you can just sit down and relax.
6. 2010 – total revenue 5.8 million. None used for marketing. If they don’t understand what a wonderful Forest preserve system we have then there is nothing more that we can do. They are in every part of the county.
7. No. It may have an influence on the tough decisions that have to be made.
8. I really don’t know.
9. To me it is the fact that once in a while farmers may need to use easement for their field and as long as their property taxes go to support the Forest Preserve District why shouldn’t we cooperate with them.
10. 3. The Pecatonica river, because I live in pecatonica and it is beautiful by summer park for tubing, fishing, canoeing. It’s a beautiful site.
11. I believe in land donation with a Forest Preserve maintaining the property that has been donated.
12. N/A as far as I am concerned.
14. Yes. It is the land owner’s property and they have a right to do with it as they wish.
15. Retired. Paccar Distribution. 15 years.
16. Married. Her employment was raising a wonderful family and grandchildren.
19. Learning process.
20. Absolutely. What would be best for both the FP and the tax payers.
22. In context to what? I don’t know.
23. I don’t know whether I would.
24. I believe in my conservative views. I am a fiscal conservative. I have experience on the Summer Park board which was an independent, non-paying position. I could help form policies and make decisions, and work with public and private entities throughout the county as we did with summer park. Keeping in mind being responsible to the park and the tax payers of the district.
25. It was my own choice in thinking I could be a part of something new which is absolutely wonderful.
26. Me. Myself.
I am a fiscal conservative. My responsibility would be to the Forest Preserve and/or the tax payers. I do not believe in raising the levies or spending money outside the budget. I believe that the work force at the Forest Preserve should be in tact, and is second to none. THANK YOU.
Survey not returned.
Robert A. (Bob) Grabbert
Survey not returned.
1. I do not wish to increase the tax burden on a citizenry that is continuing to face financial challenges and high unemployment. I think we can be creative and resourceful in our search for funding to acquire more land. Grants, planned giving, partnerships, and cost-savings measures will all be necessary. Pursuit of funding from non-profit organizations and for-profit organizations with non-profit foundations must occur.
With that said, I will not say I would never put forward such a referendum, there may be a time and a place for that but certainly not now and certainly not as a first option.
2. Sugar River FP has 12 primitive sites down near the Sugar River. I also assume that the new Rock River Trail campsites at Hinchcliff Memorial FP are primitive but I have yet to visit since the river trail has been established. If additional river sites were added at Hononegah then I would assume those to be primitive as well. I arrived there by boat in September and hiked about but did not see evidence of new sites, although I was primarily in the riparian areas which were still showing signs of flood damage. We had four children under 6 in our group so our hiking distance was somewhat limited that day.
As much as I prefer primitive camping, these sites are unlikely to be a large revenue source – even increased use (and fees) wouldn’t yield that much in the entire budget scheme. That said, primitive camping opportunities are rare in the Midwest and would be welcomed by groups and individuals with that interest or preparing for larger trips. I would be happy to see more primitive sites added to different preserves (or at least to those that already allow camping). I think if these sites were well publicized and regularly filled then there would certainly be some revenue there.
3. The WCFPD has three golf courses: Atwood Homestead, Macktown, and Ledges. I would like to better study the usage rates, costs, and revenues of each of the three courses before any decisions are made.
Considerations should be made for age and uniqueness of each course, necessary improvements, location, and history. Let’s say that it was decided that one course needed to go (which without research I am not suggesting). For the sake of sharing ideas and possibilities, here is one example:
The Ledges course, as the newest in the WCFPD’s long history and with the circumstances of its acquisition, may be a good place to start in looking to sell or convert a course. Market prices are not ideal at this moment so selling immediately would likely not be in our best interest. If the choice was made to privatize the course, the revenue could be used to purchase more natural land and maintain infrastructure. If selling were the goal, this course would be the best to go because of its location, lack of native habitat/natural areas, and lack of connection to additional preserves (although it is close to Clayton Andrews FP).
If we were to keep it but chose to use if for something other than its intended purpose, the course could be turned into prairie, woods, or savanna with first-rate native landscaping around the clubhouse (invite local landscape architects to use it as a showplace). The clubhouse could be converted into a banquet facility or rented out as a restaurant space. Or, the clubhouse facilities could be closed entirely and the focus be placed on the natural areas (which will have to be created).
If research shows that the best scenario is to keep the golf courses under the management of the forest preserve, then we will still want to consider how the existence and management of these courses is aligned with the mission of the forest preserve district. This could include the creation of native habitat around the course, applying no chemicals, and integrating walking trails for times when the course is closed.
4. The reality of our modern “urbanized” wilderness is that we have years whern animal populations exceed food sources and cause danger (starvation/disease) to the animals and as well as to native plants and ecosystems (over browsing). Because of this, I think hunting is not only beneficial but necessary. It can also provide a viable revenue source (as opposed to the high cost of sharpshooters). Like primitive camping, I wouldn’t expect it to be a major portion of the budget revenue but I do think it could be an income source (and savings!).
Licensing would be required, including proficiency testing or evidence of safety training to assure weapons safety and proper hunting techniques (provided via IL-DNR). In northern Illinois, Will County has recently experienced failures in implementing a hunting program. A good balance between hunting (in years when populations require control) and other forest preserve activities will be important. Good public information on goals and expected outcomes will be also be crucial.
In terms of fees, hunters would be required to permit/license via the State of Illinois Department of Natural Resources. In addition, we could have our own permitting process and/or fees as well as unique requirements for safety training and tags for individual animals. Out-of-county hunters would pay additional fees (to cover their lack of tax burden and then some). All fees would cover costs and include some additional revenue for the forest preserves. However, the fees would have to make good sense to hunters as well or no one will take us up on the offer. California and Texas have program models that could work here with appropriate adjustments.
5. I have visited most of our forest preserves since moving to the area, especially those with hiking trails and river access. I think each one has something to offer, whether you have thirty minutes for a quick walk or three days to camp and explore. Admittedly, I have not visited the undeveloped/conservation preserves.
Of the many I have spent time in, my favorites include:
Hononegah for its wooded beauty, lovely campground, river path, and proximity to my home; Blackhawk Springs and Oak Ridge for their numerous hiking trails and scenic/river beauty; Klehm for a structured nature experience and learning opportunities (I grew up near Morton Arboretum and have always enjoyed arboreta); Severson Dells for its diversity of ecosystems and education center and programs; Pecatonica and Pecatonica Wetlands for the variety of wildlife I always seem to spot there and the lovely woods and waters; Colored Sands for its beautiful sand prairie (especially lovely when the Lupines are blooming) and high lookout over the Sugar River; and, finally, Sugar River for its easy access to a serene paddle on the river of the same name.
6. The budget last year was just under six million dollars. Marketing is important, especially as we want to encourage the use of our preserves and get people out to experience their natural world. Current budgeted marketing expenditures are just over $200,000 in a total budget that is just about $500,000 less than last year. Could the percentage be greater? Yes, but only if we have some creative ideas and strategic planning with measureable goals that fit in with the forest preserve mission.
Focusing on local and regional marketing is more important and practical than national marketing at this point. We need to encourage locals to take advantage of the wonderful preserves available to them and to understand the value of our amazing forest preserves. By attracting people from a greater distance, area business and tax revenues could benefit as well. But we should be smart about partnering with organizations already in place to market the preserves when visitors’ use will benefit local businesses more than the preserves.
7. I have not accepted campaign donations from any of those groups or individuals. Lobbying with donations is dangerous and tantamount to bribery. I do not wish to be beholden to anyone. Accepting donations from someone with a financial interest in the forest preserves (or lack thereof) would not support the mission of the Forest Preserve District and would be inappropriate and unethical.
8. Basically, conservation design takes in the big picture when creating (or recreating) a structure, park, or landscape. It considers locally-appropriate materials, energy efficiency, water use and handling, native landscaping, alternative energy sources, and adaptive use/re-use.
9. An easement transfers certain rights from the landowner to others or creates restrictions on how land may or may not be used. An agricultural easement ensures that land is safe from development and utilized for agricultural or related purposes. It can be used to conserve important lands and keep them from being developed.
10. Winnebago County has five rivers if you count the forks (N. and S. Forks of the Kishwaukee River, Sugar River, Pecatonica River, Rock River) and numerous creeks and tributaries. They are all important and worth preserving. While I am very partial to the Rock River as I now live along its western bank between Willow and Mud Creeks, I think my favorite would have to be the Sugar River because it remains less developed and is a peaceful place for a paddle just about any time.
11. Please refer to question 1.
12. I tend to be in favor of alternative energy sources. I have photovoltaic panels at my house and during recent renovations, we plumbed for a future solar-thermal system. I think that wind turbines are a viable option for producing energy but I don’t think they are a stand-alone answer. They have their detractors (noise level, maintenance, impact on migrating birds and other flying creatures) but they also have positive aspects (energy can be produced at night when solar can’t, clean energy production). I do generally support wind farms in agricultural areas but consideration should be given to sites –locations near preserves or wildlife refuges should be avoided.
13. I don’t believe I can choose just one:
Aldo Leopold for his vision, John Muir for his poetry, Rachel Carson for the wake-up call, Wendell Berry for his adaptability, Daniel Quinn for his daring, and May Theilgaard Watts for her sense of humor, deep observation, and great understanding of the nature of learning (I spent much of my childhood with her tree finder in hand).
14. If done appropriately, I could see residential development nearby WCFPD properties working. If a mindful community was planned that included native habitat, sustainable building practices, and conservation design, it would be possible to expand native habitat at no cost to the taxpayer. Consider the Prairie Crossing community in Grayslake, IL. Over 60% of their 600+ acre site is protected natural lands – prairies and wetlands – the homes are energy efficient and well-built, native landscaping is encouraged, and the site even has an organic vegetable farm, a lake, and a century-old barn converted to a community center. Certain commercial development could also be positive. For example, an organic native seed farm would be a good neighbor to the forest preserve.
Would I support a typical residential, commercial, or industrial development adjacent to a forest preserve? No. Would I support a healthy development and good potential partner? Yes, with proper restrictions and legally-binding assurances.
15. For the past five years, I have been employed as a full-time parent to my children (now ages six and three). Prior to that, I worked at Rock Valley College in Student Affairs.
16. My spouse is self-employed and co-owns a family business in downtown Rockford called Transatlantic Connection/TAC Rockford. Although he has served the company in some capacity since its founding in the very early 90s, he has worked there full time since 1997.
17. No, I do not. My family lives elsewhere and my husband’s local family includes only his parents and our children.
18. Yes. This would be part of the responsibility of a Forest Preserve Board member and be important in our budgeting and appropriations process. Keeping costs appropriate will better allow us to purchase lands and manage staff. We should be paying a price that is fair to both the Forest Preserve District and the seller.
19. This reminds me of a question posed on NPR’s Planet Money this summer. The episode dealt with the price of a pelican in terms of restitution after the Gulf oil spill. In the end, it was determined that the price of a pelican was… a pelican. That valuation of wildlife is in its existence. Restitution would be bringing wildlife numbers back up to their pre-spill level.
The value of wetlands to me is intrinsic but the value goes beyond love or money. Wetlands are crucial to wildlife (above and below the water line) and humans for habitat, flood control, pollution control, and aesthetics and recreation.
20. Yes, of course. To do anything less than review all contracts and bids would be negligent. Privatization can create a partnership or cooperative situation where the mission and needs of the WCFPD are being served but at a lower cost to the WCFPD – but not at the expense of services and education within.
21. These are as they sound, a thorough accounting for natural resources and native species within or around preserve boundaries conducted by staff or trained volunteers that will give us an idea of what lies within.
They may not be cost effective in the traditional sense but they certainly are necessary as we try to understand what we have (and how best to care for it) and what we need. They can be used to assess our baseline and progress in achieving our goals.
22. Sustainability is the act and effort of ensuring that we are making the best choices for the long term; the choices that allow what is positive to continue to thrive as time goes on.
23. This is highly dependent on other factors… some of which will be hard to predict. Forest preserves should be closed in cases of danger to humans or animal/plant populations.
24. The forest preserves in Winnebago County are absolutely fantastic! I was so impressed with the number and diversity of preserves when I moved here ten years ago. I simply want to assure they are still here and maintained with good stewardship practices for years to come. My goals include the expected (fiscal responsibility, infrastructure maintenance, and transparency and communication) and the key ideas of preservation and stewardship of natural lands and development of programming and recreational opportunities within the preserves. More can be found on my website at www.LenaeWeichel.org.
25. When the referendum to separate the forest preserve from the county board was proposed two years ago, I became interested in the idea and spent some time researching the issue and sharing my findings with friends and neighbors. Several of them suggested that I would want to put myself forward for this office and continued to ask until it was time to file in June.
26. My campaign is being assisted by several friends. Beyond that my name is being shared by word-ofmouth. In giving consideration to the environment we are trying to preserve, I am spending less, not more money on my campaign (no yard signs, for example). I have not sought out any financial support for my efforts.
Lee G. Johnson
1. Yes, I would, but only if a program were established at the same time to educate the public on the Forest Preserve’s uniqueness and value, and what they offer, so that the general public voting on the referendum could make an informed decision.
2. I feel that primitive campsites are well-within the WCFPD’s Purpose Statement. If it can be shown that there is demand for these services, and that the cost does not exceed the benefits, then I would be in favor. Also, the campsites should not be located in a place where the construction of them would cause the destruction of some of the forest preserves’ unique natural features.
3. There are three golf courses. There is debate whether golf courses are covered within the WCFPD Purpose Statement. Since there are limited resources available for forest preserve activities, I feel that the golf courses should be on a “pay-their-own-basis.” Those golf courses that do not generate enough revenue for their maintenance and operation should be converted to other uses. Other uses could be education facilities, or restored to natural habitat with paths available for handicapped- accessibility use.
4. In general, hunting in forest preserves restricts usage by the general public during the hunting periods and offers many safety issues for those involved in the hunting. However, from time-to-time, good management of natural areas requires removal or reduction in the numbers of animals that may be destroying the habitat. I feel that if a safe method of hunting for this purpose could be developed, that hunting opportunities could be provided to responsible people in the locations where problems exist. Probably the demand would exceed the opportunities. The opportunities should be determined by a lottery, and the charge should be determined by the market and the cost for providing such opportunities.
5. I have visited all WCF Preserves except one (Clayton Andrews), and know them very well. My favorite is Sugar River Forest Preserve because it has a variety of nearly pristine plant and animal communities, yet it offers the opportunity for picnicking, camping, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding and hiking trails for enjoying nature, all which co-exist without the detriment of the wild things that live there. Or you can just drive around the circle drive and enjoy the scenery without getting out of your car!
6. Each candidate was given information on the budget by the WCFPD. This material indicates that the budget is set through October, 2011. The WCFPD currently produces literature, a website, and information represented by other media on the forest preserves, available to anyone who uses the forest preserves, and available at other locations. Because of the forest preserves’ uniqueness, it brings visitors from throughout the state and adjoining states. These visitors bring tourist dollars to the area. I feel that alliances can be formed with area businesses and organizations which benefit from those tourist dollars to provide revenue to expand WCFPD marketing efforts within the region.
7. No, I would not and have not accepted campaign donations from those sources. It is not appropriate because it creates a conflict-of-interest.
8. I’m not familiar with conservation design, but I am familiar with all the natural systems and how they function, and am equipped with the knowledge necessary to establish policies on the maintenance, conservation, and use of these areas so that they will be healthy and available for the enjoyment of generations to come.
9. A landowner can place a restriction on his/her deed that restricts usage of the property to any present or future owner for the development of the land beyond agricultural use. A conservation easement is a similar restriction that a landowner can place on his/her deed for conserving a natural area. The land still belongs to the owner, but there is a restriction on the deed for future development of the conservation easement; the easement is usually given to a not-for-profit organization, such as the Natural Land Institute.
10. There are four rivers in Winnebago County: Rock River, Pecatonica River, Kishwaukee River, and Sugar River. The Kishwaukee River is probably my favorite because it is the healthiest river, environmentally, and has great biodiversity. The Pecatonica River has the most interesting plant communities located within its flood plain.
11. The following are some potential sources, not in order of importance:
1. Direct donations from the general public and other sources
2. Acquiring conservation easements
4. Volunteers to assist in management of current and future lands
12. Wind farms can play an important role in the reduction of climate change. However, I have concerns about their effect on migratory birds and bats, since I have not seen substantial amount of data on deaths caused by wind farms.
13. I have no favorite.
14. It would not be good for the ecosystems in the forest preserves if a facility were adjacent that generated pollution. The enjoyment of forest preserves is also enhanced if visitors can hear the natural sounds- birds singing, leaves rustling, etc., or silence. The location of a facility generating noise pollution would be detrimental to that experience. Proper zoning and adherence to that zoning could eliminate conflicts between those enjoying the forest preserves and those pursuing their economic interests.
15. I am currently retired. My work experiences include: Director, Burpee Museum of Natural History, 15 years; Communication Systems Consultant, 2 years; Business Manager-Natural Land Institute, 2 years; Communication Systems and Sales, Illinois Bell Telephone Co., 22 years, U.S.Army, radio repair, Korean Conflict, 2 years.
16. My wife, Lynda, is also retired. She was Education Director at Burpee Museum of Natural History, 15 years; Education Coordinator, Natural Land Institute, 3 years.
19. Value is represented by availability, and benefits. Only a fraction of the original wetlands remain within Illinois. Besides being home for countless plants and other organisms, they serve as reservoirs for flood waters. It’s hard to establish a value on these things, but what precious few remain should be preserved. In Winnebago County there are 1,000s of acres of farmland, residences, and commercial and industrial facilities, and only 100s of acres, if that, of wetlands.
20. It is not the responsibility of the board to get into the details of operations. But it is the responsibility to set policy. I feel that policy should be set that requires competitive bidding, and contracts should be awarded on the basis of best service for the least cost. The day-to-day operation of the WCFPD requires constant public contact by its employees. The outsourcing of activities currently performed by the employees would cause the loss of the great job the employees do with contact with the general public.
21. The forest preserves have within their boundaries endangered species, threatened species, and plants that occur nowhere else in Illinois. WCFPD should have a data base which is an inventory of these species, so that as they conduct their day-to-day activities, and make decisions of the usage by the public of the properties, that they do not destroy something that cannot be replaced. I do not know how to establish the cost-effective relationship between the existence of a rare, natural species, and its potential destruction. I support WCFPD conducting and keeping an inventory of its natural assets. Such inventory can be conducted either by employees or volunteers. I’m sure there are many people in this area who could conduct such inventories as volunteers, without having to pay large amounts of money to an outside source who might not be familiar with WCFPD properties.
22. As I see it, as it applies to forest preserves, sustainability involves having natural communities that are healthy, function within themselves, and are not destroyed by public usage.
23. If hunting of destructive species within forest preserves were allowed, the area that the hunting occurs would have to be closed to the public while the hunting is being conducted. The forest preserves have certain areas dedicated as nature preserves. This dedication currently restricts certain activities within that area. I feel it is appropriate to restrict certain types of activities in sensitive natural areas to protect these areas from damage so that they can be enjoyed by current and future generations.
24. Why do you want to be a member of the WCFPD Board of Directors? I have been a long-time supporter of WCFPD. I have testified at pre-budget hearings, and I have helped to establish forest preserves. I’ve been recognized for these efforts by receiving the Seth B. Atwood Award, and receiving national recognition from The National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials. I have also received the George and Barbara Fell Award for my conservation efforts. I started the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory in 1967, and through this activity, supported by many dedicated volunteers, I’ve shared my passion and knowledge of nature for many years. I believe wholeheartedly in WCFPD Statement of Purpose, and want to see the WCFPD continue doing the excellent job fulfilling these purposes, so that other people may find the enjoyment and pleasure in the forest preserves that I’ve experienced in my entire lifetime.
25. Several friends who knew my background and are familiar with the forest preserves.
26. I do not have a campaign committee, and have not been soliciting financial support. There are friends who have said they would ask people to vote for me.
OTHER: There is one thing you have not asked about on which I would like to comment. I would like to find a way to re-open the education facility in the Pecatonica Forest Preserve. Education about nature is important so that people will understand its value, and want to preserve it. I feel I would bring to the Board a wealth of information about the natural world that most other candidates do not possess.
My experiences in the business world, along with my experiences serving on many boards, gives me extensive knowledge on how to operate within a board. Because I was a Director working with a board, I also know the relationships that should exist between a board and the Director of an organization.
Anyone who has any questions is free to call me: 815-629-2781. Thank you for providing this opportunity to tell my story.
Daniel T. Williams Jr.
1. Yes. I have consistently advocated for bond issues to obtain land acquisition funds. For instance, I was quoted in a front page story of the January 10, 1993, RRStar with supporting statements for a $10 million bond issue to purchase open space in advance of development.
The current state of the economy makes an immediate referendum proposal unrealistic, but planning should begin so that no time is lost when conditions for a favorable vote improve.
I was a member of the District’s Land Advisory Council (LAC) for 33 years, and chaired that Council from 1995-2010 when I resigned to run for the position of Commissioner. LAC advises the District regarding land acquisition and management and use policies. We approved and recommended a long-range land acquisition plan to the District in 1981. It emphasizes acquiring land along the 4 river corridors with particular emphasis on the Kishwaukee River. The Kishwaukee has exceedingly high water quality and scenery and it was the most threatened by development in the east side of Winnebago County. By following the acquisition plan, the District added approximately 2400 acres in the Kishwaukee valley since 1977. The acquisitions along the Pecatonica and Sugar Rivers follow the 1981 plan.
2. Only Sugar River FP has primitive campsites. These might provide more revenue if demand on existing sites demonstrates a need for additional facilities. If marketing efforts generate more ecotourism, then the capital expenditure may be justified. A careful budget analysis should be performed.
3. There are 3 golf courses. I oppose expanding the golfing operation. The revenues generated by golf do not provide sufficient funding for capital improvements; revenues apparently cover operational costs. The golf budget needs to be examined to see if more efficiencies can be obtained. If a marketing campaign generates additional revenues for golf, a discussion of closing a golf course is likely to be unnecessary. My understanding of the revenues generated vs. operational costs and capital needs shows that Ledges has the largest problem.
If a course were closed, there are a several alternatives. Land cannot be sold by the District without a special bill approved by the state legislature, but it could be traded for land of equal or greater value. Or, it could be restored as a natural area. Since all 3 golf courses are located in an area of the county under heavy residential development pressure, it is reasonable to consider keeping the property as a forest preserve for needed green space.
4. I do not approve any firearm hunting in the forest preserves. Use of firearms would involve closing preserves to non-hunting users during the hunting seasons, and I oppose that action. The Green Communities survey taken a few years ago revealed that only 7.8% of the respondents favored hunting activity in the preserves, while 57.4% favored natural areas.
Any discussion of hunting needs to take place with a clear understanding that recreational hunting and deer herd management are two completely different issues. Any policy change should be based on facts, good science, a clear understanding of potential impacts on future land donations, existing restrictions from nature preserve designation, conservation easements, or transfer agreements on the present properties, safety, law enforcement availability, District management expense, and public support (or loss of support) for the District if such change is enacted. Hunting in Forest Preserves essentially stops making them ‘preserves.” I favor retaining the properties as preserves, not hunting grounds.
There is almost no public hunting land in Winnebago County. I favor acquiring additional land for hunting which would be designated for use other than as a forest preserve. The State calls these Wildlife Management Areas. These would be managed for hunting, and would likely generate revenues in excess of their cost to operate. A good marketing program may attract hunters from outside of Winnebago County. Until more land is acquired, it might be possible to allow some limited archery deer or turkey hunting in remote areas not generally frequented by the public.
I cannot answer the questions regarding how hunting would happen or what charge would be made if a policy change were to take place. Those decisions are dependent on staff work and research, not the speculation of the Commissioners. The revenues should exceed expenses.
5. I have visited every property except McKiski, which is not accessible. As a member of the LAC, I took tours of properties that were under consideration for acquisition. For instance, I was on the initial tour of the Klehm property when the gift was offered to the District.
My favorite preserve is Sugar River FP. It has a wonderful combination of habitat types- swamp, flood forest, dry sand prairie and oak savannah, upland forest, the planted pines in the campground, and associated flora and fauna for each.
6. The 2009-2010 budget had $6.28 million of expenditures, of which $3.88 million was the corporate fund and the remainder was capital and other expenses. The marketing department, which is paid out of the corporate fund, had a total budget of $207,400, of which $125,700 was for contractual services. That amount was 3.2% of the corporate fund expenses. The contract services were primarily for public relations and marketing services.
The 2010-2011budget has already been adopted, so the question “what should be spent?” is no longer to be determined. The current budget calls for $119,700 for contractual services in the marketing department. The 2010-2011 corporate fund shows expenditures of $5.178 million, so the marketing budget for contractual services is 2.3% of that amount.
Emphasis of the marketing efforts should be local, regional (including southern Wisconsin) and state-wide. National efforts are not likely to be worthwhile. The staff should be charged with presenting a marketing proposal to the Commissioners for their consideration in planning the next budget. The percentage proposed to be spent will depend on the perceived effectiveness of the plan, including revenues anticipated to be generated by the effort. It is not the job of the Commissioners to micromanage this staff task.
7. I have not received campaign contributions from any of the groups listed or any individual employed by such an entity; I don’t expect to receive any. If a donation from such an entity were accepted, the person who received it might have to disqualify themselves from voting on an issue in which such donor had an economic interest, depending on the issue.
8. Conservation design is an approach for controlled growth land use for development. It allows limited and sustainable development, helps protect water quality, softens development with green open space and helps protect natural areas while allowing development at a reduced level. I have heard 50% greenway or open space used as a proposed standard for this type of development model. An important element which is often overlooked is the need to preserve large tracts of land for the species which inhabit them, so fractured green space in conservation design is not necessarily desirable.
Conservation design is relevant to zoning, which is not directly part of the duties of the Forest Preserve Commissioners, although the District could be a legal objector to a proposed zoning change. It may be possible to work with developers to soften the impact of their development on adjacent Forest Preserves by using conservation designs as a buffer. It is more desirable to keep development at a great distance from Forest Preserve properties. This has more application to a park district than a forest preserve, since park districts are in closer proximity to urban development, but certainly is relevant to rural subdivisions.
9. Agricultural easements prohibit development on farm land and restrict the use of land to agricultural activities. The purpose of these easements is to continue farming; CRP uses might be made, depending on the easement. Agricultural easements have little value to forest preserve districts unless the land is in CRP. Land subject to an agricultural easement is generally not desirable for acquisition as a forest preserve.
10. There are 4 rivers flowing through Winnebago County. I particularly like the Sugar River because of the wild natural areas which border it, but the Kishwaukee, with its very high water quality and scenic valley, is a close second.
11. Grants are an excellent source of funding. The District has been very successful in obtaining grants from a variety of state and federal programs to supplement the purchasing power of land-acquisition funds. State and federal government grants are unlikely to continue in the near term. I favor the creation of a supporting foundation (with unpaid volunteer board members) to seek grants from private foundations, and pursue tax deductible donations of land and money to assist the District’s land acquisition efforts.
I am a member of the board of trustees of the Natural Land Institute. NLI has been an important partner of the District in acquiring land, and it has donated both land and money to supplement District’s land acquisitions and has assisted in obtaining grants. NLI was a partner and donor to the creation of Stone Bridge and J. Norman Jensen Forest Preserves, and has had a role in most of the District’s acquisitions over the past 10 years. Other opportunities and partnerships should be pursued.
12. This is no longer an issue for the Forest Preserve Commission. The County board has enacted a zoning ordinance regarding wind farms which prohibits them from being closer than ½ mile to a forest preserve. I think that is too close, but the District is unable to be a legal objector because its land will not be contiguous to the proposed wind farm. The wind farm industry has established recommended environmental guidelines for wind farms, and, as a member of the NLI board, I supported a proposal that any wind farm in Winnebago County would be required to follow industry guidelines; the county board rejected the proposal. Wind turbines are known to have lethal effects on bats. They may also be harmful to birds if sited in places of heavy migration activity.
13. John McPhee. I particularly like his book “The Control of Nature.”
14. No. See my comments above regarding conservation design. Since most of the parcels on the District’s priority acquisition plan are located in flood plains, the District has attempted to acquire some buffer land on higher ground to help improve water quality by using grassland filters to catch sediment from run-off. I favor that plan.
15. I am an attorney and an equity owner of the firm of McGreevy Williams PC since 1971.
16. My wife, Barbara, is not presently employed. She was previously employed as the manager of biology collections at the Burpee Museum of Natural History.
18. I would, and I have been for the past 33 years as a member of the Land Advisory Council. On a number of occasions, we recommended against the purchase of a property where the seller was demanding an unreasonable price.
19. Wetlands can’t be valued based on appraisals alone. They have very high intangible value as reservoirs for flood water, and they diminish the impact of downstream flooding, reducing economic loss. While there may be studies, or a specific situation, which identify a figure in terms of reducing flood loss or damage (i.e. $4.3 million awarded to Machesney Park to buy flood-damaged properties), value cannot often be quantified in money terms. For instance, wetlands are nurseries for fish spawning, increasing fish stocks, and, consequently, attracting more fishing and increased revenues from it, so that might identify some direct value. Wetlands filter silt, so cleaner water means greater aesthetic value to boaters, canoeists, rafters, swimmers, skiers and fishermen. That aesthetic value is hard to determine.
Finally, there is the intrinsic value of the species which inhabit the wetlands and other habitats. They increase our quality of life. We have a moral obligation to preserve natural areas for the sake of the species within them.
20. A zero-based budget process should be employed for the next budget cycle, which would necessarily include all contracts. I am not in favor of privatizing day-to-day services, but privatizing golf operations might be possible if an interested party can be found. An earlier effort to locate such an operator was unsuccessful.
21. These help to identify important species of flora and fauna, so are a useful and valuable tool in evaluating land for acquisition. A recent update to the natural areas inventory in the county revealed a number of places which were not previously known to contain valuable species. I have not been provided with any data related to the cost, so I cannot respond with specificity, but these studies are worth the effort. Once a natural area and its species are gone, we can’t get them back. The quality-of-life value can’t be quantified in money terms.
22. “Sustainability” is the preservation and use of land so it continues to deliver positive benefits in perpetuity, rather than a single incident of use which destroys the land or the species on it. In conservation, this means keeping ecosystems functioning over long periods of time, so habitats continue to sustain the species living in them.
23. Some land doesn’t presently have easy public access, such as McKiski FP. I might close access for budgetary reasons if there were not adequate funds to provide the necessary facilities for public use. I might recommend closing properties if they had unique and endangered species to be protected, or where scientific studies were underway which might be adversely affected by public access.
24. Forest Preserves are special places. I believe that we have a moral obligation to preserve the natural lands for the species that inhabit them. I have had a lifelong interest in natural history, and I have served on a variety of conservation and environmental groups for nearly 40 years. I was one of the co-founders of Sinnissippi Audubon Society in 1972, and I was its president; I have been a member of the Land Advisory Council of the WCFPD from1977-2010, and served as its chair from 1995-2010; I am a board member of the Natural Land Institute; I was a long-time board member of the Burpee Natural History Museum, and served as its president from 1997-1999, when it was constructing the Solem addition; I have been the president of the American Birding Association of Colorado Springs, CO (1993-1997); I have been the president of the Winnebago County Bar Association and its related foundation. I received the Atwood Award in 1997. I am a very well-qualified board member with excellent knowledge of budgeting, governance and staff/board relationships. For more information on my credentials and background, please see www.dan4forests.org
I am running because I have important institutional memory regarding the District’s long-range plan for land acquisition and the priority list of parcels to be acquired; I want to continue that work. Long range planning should not be a 10 or 20 year horizon, but a vision for at least 100 years. At the time I joined the LAC in 1977, we tried to anticipate development in the County. Our prognosis was accurate, and the extensive protection of the Kishwaukee River, the creation of Pecatonica Wetlands, and the protection of the Sugar River, is the direct result of that vision. That has been the model which the District has followed for over 30 years, and which it should continue to follow.
25. Bruce Atwood and my law partner, Bruce Ross-Shannon. My wife, Barbara, was also very supportive of the idea and encouraged me to run for office.
26. My campaign workers are my wife, Barbara, and me. We have had the help of a few friends and supporters who have written letters to the editor, or who have volunteered to put up yard signs, or canvass their neighborhood. I have no organized campaign committee. I hired Graham Spencer to create a website and Facebook page for the campaign, plus design yard signs and campaign logos. Its bill to date has been paid in full from the campaign contributions. To date, I have personally paid for printing brochures and logo stickers, plus the registration cost of domain names for the website. To the extent that the campaign expenses exceed the contributions, I will pay the balance from my own funds.
My largest financial supporters have been: McGreevy Williams PC (it contributed $1000), and my friends Gordon Neese and Norman Lindstedt, each of whom have donated $1000. All other contributions were small amounts ranging from $10-$200 from a variety of friends, law colleagues, acquaintances and family members. A statement of my campaign contributions and expenses has been filed with the State Board of Elections and the Winnebago County Clerk.
Jack R. Cook Jr.
1. Since land acquisition is part of the “mission” of the Forest Preserve District, it always needs to be considered. Budget cuts need to be considered first. Referenda, in general, can be useful tools; they allow the taxpayer a direct voice in the funding process.
2. The twelve “primitive” campsites pay only $5.00 less than those equipped with amenities; if any campsites should provide more revenue, it should be the “non-primitive” ones. When assessing the usage of campsites, if the board thought that more “primitive” campsites should be added, then, yes, they could provide more revenue.
3. There are three golf courses operated by the WCFPD. Without a complete and detailed review of the operations, and of the budgets for each golf course, it would be difficult to offer an opinion on closing anything down.
4. While hunting may be prudent to control deer or turkey over-population as a management tool, hunting as a revenue producer seems impractical.
5. Having lived in this area for my whole life, I have been on many preserves. My favorite preserves are in the Rockton area, because I live here and enjoy hiking and canoeing.
6. Since the total budget of close to $6,000,000 was exceeded, the new board’s first step should be to look closely at the expenditures and evaluate the cost and return anticipated on marketing at any level.
7. I have not accepted campaign donations from anyone, and have personally purchased only a couple of newspaper ads. Accepting money from parties involved in developing and/or selling the natural resources appears to be a conflict of interest.
8. It is a development design intended to maximize the use of green/open space, while clustering residences, so as not to seriously impact the green/open space.
9. Agricultural, or conservation easements, limit a parcel to agricultural or conservation uses, and prevent development or use for other than agricultural or conservation use.
10. The Rock, Kishwaukee, Pecatonica, and Sugar Rivers each have their own characteristics. My favorites are the Pecatonic and Sugar Rivers, because I live in Rockton where they are more convenient, and also because they are substantially undeveloped.
11. Partnering with private, state, and federal organizations, projects, and foundations are viable ways to find funds, as are the seeking of grants and gifts.
12. No, they are ugly and over-ride the landscape. Studies on their effect on wildlife and migrating birds are early and incomplete.
13. Sugurd Olson, avid canoeist and co-founder of Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) in Minnesota.
15. I am a solo-practicing attorney in Rockton Illinois since 1977.
16. My wife, Lora, has been a nurse in the Rockford area for over 25 years, presently employed as a Wound Care Nurse for O.S.F.
19. Wetlands are invaluable for flood control, wildlife habitat, and buffers for the community.
20. Yes, as a new board, we must go through this process.
21. A big question, but an effort should be made to determine our resources and natural species. Any large expense on any matter needs to be carefully reviewed. Money is tight.
22. An action which is expected not to conflict with either meeting both current and future human needs or preserving the environment.
23. This question poses more questions than answers. Is the concern to protect breeding habitat? A rare species? To stop flooding?
24. I believe that the board should be composed of people who are willing to serve and are qualified by governmental, legal, and conservation experience. I feel that I fit the bill.
25. No one. It was an opportunity to bring to the table, at a county level, my background as a Township Supervisor and President/Trustee of the Natural Land Institute.
26. I am not taking money from anyone, and I’m spending very little to advertise. As a philosophical proposition, I will not spend significant funds for a volunteer position. I’m being naïve, and I know it. Marketing is important, but I trust that the essential belief in the mission and the new commission will carry the day. I have nothing to gain and no one to answer to except the voters. Public service without money or politics involved. Pure and simple.
1.) No. At the current time we are taxed enough here in Winnebago County.
2.) 4 – Hononegah, Seward Bluffs, Sugar River, and Pecatonica. Yes they could.
3.) Exactly 3 – Atwood, Macktown, and The Ledges. I wouldn’t support closing any of them. As far as expanding I would like to see a better practice center for the County courses that would also generate revenue. I would also like to see a nicer banquet center / room that could be rented out for functions and golf events.
4.) Yes I would. I consider hunting a part of our American history as well as conservation and wildlife management. My utmost concern is ALWAYS for safety (Safety of the hunters, non hunters and everyone in between). The logistics and details would, of course, have to be researched and discussed before being implemented.
5.) All of them (41). All of them especially where I am sitting right now writing my answers to these questions on the Kishwaukee River with the leaves turning color. That drive into the Hononegah preserve is quite something as well. Hononegah our very first Forest Preserve.
6.) They told us at the two meetings it was 6.2 million dollars for last year, 2011’s looks to be around 7 million according to the 2011 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance. For a new business marketing classes suggest 20 – 30 percent of your budget should be spent on marketing. Existing business around 2 – 5 percent. The 2010 budget seems to allow for around 3 percent to be spent on marketing which I think is a good number could be more but 3 percent seems good to me. Directed locally, regionally, statewide and nationally in that order of priority. We have a lot to offer people here and we really need to do a great job getting the word out and marketing is the way to do that.
7.) I haven’t taken any campaign contributions or “favors” from Developers, Realtors, construction companies or unions. However, I have had a couple of fund raisers one serving my delicious bakery style Pizzas and another serving my sisters Spaghetti and Meat Sauce. People purchased tickets to those (I wish more people would have but that’s the way it goes), for $10 each. I did sell 5 tickets to United Allied Retirees for a total of $50. The retirees are nice people who do care about conservation, preservation, education and recreation. I consider our senior citizens our wisest citizens we should honor and listen to them every chance we get. I don’t think it’s appropriate for candidates especially for the WCFPD Commissioner election to be taking money or favors (like letting them place campaign signs on all their properties – I think there are 4 candidates doing that). How are those candidates planning to repay the developers for that favor? That is what I ask myself.
8.) Conservation Design is a controlled growth land use tool allowing limited sustainable development while protecting natural resources. I support protecting our natural resources over 150 percent!
9.) An agricultural easement is a non possessory interest in land which restricts conversion of land preventing non agricultural uses. A good thing.
10.) 4 Rivers – The Kishwaukee, The Rock, The Sugar, The Pecatonica. All of them are my favorites because we are so blessed to have them in our county. I have to say though my, if I had to choose one of them, my heart is with the Kishwaukee River (South Branch over North if I have to pick). Why? I have floated down the South Branch more than any other. The scenic beauty and serenity are like nothing else I have experienced in my life. One of my favorite spots on the entire planet is on The Kishwaukee River where I am sitting right now. Also, I floated down on one of my hand crafted wooden vessels and right before the 251 bridge in New Milford a great big Bald Eagle flew right over my head. That was such an experience! God Bless America and God Bless our County!
11.) We need more creative fund raising efforts. If I am fortunate to be elected by my fellow Winnebago County residents, I will share more about this. P.s. I don’t like the smell of garbage.
12.) YES. What about small scale wind energy generation too? I am strongly for any alternative sources of energy generation. I was the only candidate out of the entire 35 that attended the 2010 Green Business Awards How about Binary Geothermal? How about Solar? Those are great ways to cut down on fossil fuels.
13.) Aldo Leopold. I almost put Elinor Ostrom but she is considered an economist / political writer (Nobel peace prize winner I do believe). I like when she said and wrote “Lands and parks are better governed by people who use them”. I certainly use them.
14.) Residential – Yes depending on how adjacent, how designed and the details about the project. Industrial or Commercial I would have to see the plan and details as well as how they would impact our environment and the safety and health of our citizens.
15.) I manage Avanti Services providing Internet and Merchant Services. Have been doing that around 6 years. We have been affected by the economic problems as well as greater competition but we are hanging in there. I am not one to just sit by and let problems with the economy discourage me or hold me down. Less than a year ago or maybe it has been a year I took an independent contractor job taking a nice drive in the country on Wednesdays delivering the Rock River Times to Ogle County. I am not involved in the day to day operations or the decision making at the Rock River Times. I just deliver the papers to Ogle County and get paid for that.
16.) I have never been married, I’m currently single and have no kids except a Godchild that I love like a son.
17.) I was born and raised here in Winnebago County – Rockford to be exact, into a family with close to a century of history, loyalty and productivity here. I think I am related to most of the people here. I can’t see into the future so I don’t know if that scenario would ever come up.
18.) YES I like being the “watchdog”
19.) Do wetlands have a monetary value that is what I just asked myself. I think their environmental value far far surpasses any monetary value put on them. Wetlands also have a huge value in creating habitat and flood control.
20.) I would most certainly review all bids and contracts in force at the day the new board takes over if I’m fortunate enough to be elected as well as all future bids and contracts. Privatization would have to depend on the details and of what services were being considered. I worry about privatization and outsourcing. Outsourcing, I believe, has caused a lot of the problems we are having today.
21.) Land, Wildlife or raw materials that exist naturally. Yes
22.) Sustainability is the capacity to endure.
23.) Flooding. Until the flooding subsided
24.) First and foremost because I care and to be a part of something great and greater than myself.
25.) Me and my heart.
26.) Campaign workers? Wow that would certainly be nice to have. Currently I am a one person show. I’ve painted my own campaign signs out of recycled wood and sign posts and stands and plan on picking ALL of them up after the election and saving them or recycling them. New wood that I had to purchase will also be recycled. I’ve also been personally going door to door and talking to and listening to people’s concerns. My financial supporters? Anyone that bought a ticket to one of my Pizza or Pasta nights or bought a dozen of my famous Italian Chocolate Cookies. I have raised and spent around $500 and thank each and every one of the people that bought tickets or cookies greatly and I will never forget them! I wish advertising was cheaper, I would have done more of that if I had the funds.
Donald L. Shriver
1. At today’s interest rates, a referendum could be a win-win for the District and the Taxpayers if used to purchase additional but limited to land in areas critical to the Districts operations.
2. Primitive campsites should be available on a limited basis so that their use will not interfere with pristine and natural areas. Campers must be instructed not to destroy the areas around such sites and to “take out more than they bring in”.
3. The three golf courses are sufficient but should be maintained by user fees.
4. This is not easily answered. Hunting should be allowed to maintain a manageable level of wildlife. The District should not pay for any service to reduce the levels.
5. I have not visited all but have used many over my forty years in Winnebago County. Launching areas for canoes and trailheads for biking are my favorites.
6. Word of mouth is the best marketing. If the District maintains its facilities and programs, they will sell themselves. The budget of about $7 million is somewhat skewed because there are earmarked monies, e.g. Klehm Arboretum.
7. No. I have spent a small amount of my own funds and have relied on friends and acquaintances to promote my candidacy.
8. A concept that has developed over the past couple decades to incorporate conservation concepts into all urban and rural planning.
9. Agricultural protection comes in many colors from federal incentives down to local protections. Preserving agricultural lands continues to become a more difficult issue as commercial and residential development spread.
10. There are four referred to as rivers. I have no favorites, but the Rock River dominates the County and most of us cross it or drive along it several times a day. It really requires our continued protection and attention.
11. Donations and user fees.
12. We need alternative renewable sources of energy. Wind “farms” are dominating Europe and are being pursued throughout Illinois and currently in the Northern Illinois area. Some landowners believe the source of renewal is well worth the aesthetic and other disadvantages of the turbines. To avoid over-proliferation, if they come, I suggest special zoning to specific areas where current landowners would support their construction. Unfortunately, many governmental entities see the dramatic influx of tax revenues to be the overriding factor.
13. Having spent years in environmental law, I have read many decisions related to environmental matters and have read several treatises on issues involved in cases I have handled.
14. Only with appropriate buffer zones. I do not support further development in flood plains, wetlands or natural forests.
15. Self-employed as a practicing attorney for over 43 years. Currently with Shriver, O’Neill & Thompson, with offices at 515 N. Court Street, Rockford, IL and 930 W. Locust Street, Belvidere, IL
16. Married. She is a French teacher, currently at Keith County Day for over 20 years.
18. Yes, but the District should not pay over fair-market value either.
19. We have to understand that we are in a developed, and in a developing residential and business area, but the rivers, streams, and wetlands need to be preserved. As indicated above, with appropriate buffer zones we can protect flora and fauna in the District for the enjoyment of all.
20. Not all in detail since this is really the staff’s job. However, all will need Board approval and review. Privatization may not resolve any budget concerns since the Prevailing Wage Act would govern these contracts.
21. I do not know.
22. This is asked in the abstract and I really do not know how to respond, but in general it means the ability to have enough resources to continue to function over an indefinite period of time.
23. Yes, to preserve pristine areas.
24. I have the experience, time and energy to serve. I have the background necessary to get the new board organized and policies in place. My past service to, and leadership of, local not-for-profit entities, as well as to the Winnebago County and Illinois State Bar Associations demonstrates my commitment to helping such organizations.
25. No one. When I first heard that a separate Board was being contemplated, my interest serving on the new Board began because of my love of the outdoors and silent sport activities.
26. None, except friends, family and associates who have placed signs and handed out literature.
Vardman “Bud” Turner
Survey not returned.
Helen C. Yetterburg
1. Not now.
2. I don’t know.
3. I would figure out how to save all three of them.
4. Yes. I have to do lots of research.
5. Eleven at least. Four Lakes astonished me. Favorite?
6. Don’t have time for this question.
7. No. I do my own thinking and read a lot and make my own decisions!
8. Conservation design is the protection, preservation and careful management of natural resources.
10. Four, I think. No favorite.
11. The new board needs to work on that.
12. I don’t know.
13. No favorite.
14. No, we have cities for these.
15. I am retired.
16. I am a widow..
22. To me, it means taking care of what you have.
24. It’s a new challenge.
25. Nobody. But Mr. Kalousek wasn’t against it.
26. I have none because I have asked for help from nobody. People who know me will vote for me.
I am not involved with other related organizations. I am a charter member of Klehm’s, one of the WCFPD properties. They are the only one who claims to be a botanical garden. They could do much better and need help–enough said.
Michael A. White
1. NO! I THINK THE WCFPD SHOULD CREATE A FOUNDATION SIMILAR TO THE ROCKFORD PARK DISTRICT “FOUNDATION” WITH THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING MONEY AND DONATIONS OF AND FOR LAND ACQUISITION.
2. LESS THAN HALF. NOT WITHOUT MORE INVESTMENT.
3. THREE. I WOULD NOT CLOSE AND OR EXPAND ANY. I DON’T BELIEVE GOLF COURSES ARE A TRUE FUNCTION OF FOREST PRESERVES, BUT WE HAVE THEM AND IT IS A TRADITION IN OUR DISTRICT TO KEEP AND MAINTAIN THEM. WE SHOULD HOWEVER DEVISE A FEE SYSTEM TO MAKE THEM MORE COST EFFICIENT.
4. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND ARCHERY FOR KILLING. I WOULD HOWEVER ALLOW FIREARM HUNTING ON A CONTROLLED BASIS USING FEES TO PROVIDE REVENUE. WE WOULD HAVE TO DO A PRETTY COMPLETE STUDY TO DETERMINE THE CHARGES CONSIDERING SUCH ISSUES AS SAFETY, MANAGEMENT AND LIABILITY AS WELL AS EFFECTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT.
5. PROBABLY HALF OVER MY 67 YEARS. MY FAVORITE IS OFF BLACKHAWK AND SO MULFORD RDS. ITS LARGE, CONTAINS THE KISHWAUKEE RIVER WHICH I HAVE FISHED, CANOES, AND FLOATED. IT HAS SHELTER HOUSES WHICH I HAVE USED FOR FAMILY REUNIONS AND CAMP SITES WHICH I HAVE USED FOR PICNICS. I HAVE ALSO HIKED MOST OF THE TRAILS.
6.. THE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES THRU 11-1-10 ARE $5,832,600. BASED ON PREVIOUS YEARS APPROXIMATELY 3 1/2 % IS BUDGETED FOR MARKETING. I FEEL THIS SHOULD BE RAISED CLOSER TO 5% A THE THE INCREASE SHOULD BE DIRECTED LOCALLY. THE ADDITIONAL MONIES WILL PROMOTE MORE USAGE AND THUS CREATE MORE REVENUE THRU FEES AND SUCH.
7. I HAVE NOT ACCEPTED DONATIONS FROM ANY SOURCES. I DO NOT FEEL DONATIONS FROM ANY SOURCE ARE APPROPRIATE FOR THIS POSITION I DO NOT WANT TO BE MADE TO FEEL OBLIGATED TO ANY SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP OR ORGANIZATION.
8. A WAY OF DESIGNING SITES WITH CONSERVATION IN MIND. A SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT DISTRICT MISSION AT THE FOREFRONT.
9. A TECHNIQUE USED FOR PROTECTION FARM LAND IN URBANIZING COMMUNITIES. HOLDING THEM IN PERPETUITY WITH VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION BY LANDOWNERS AND THE MATCHING OF PUBLIC PURPOSES AND FARMERS INTERESTS. ie. A METHOD OF KEEPING LAND FROM BEING DEVELOPED.
10. THERE ARE FOUR RIVERS IF YOU DON’T COUNT BOTH FORKS OF THE KISHWAUKEE. THERE IS ALSO AND UNDERGROUND RIVER RUNNING UNDER THE ROCK RIVER IF YOU WANT TO COUNT THAT. BASICALLY WE COUNT THE ROCK, KISHWAUKEE, SUGAR AND PECATONICA. THE ROCK IS THE LARGEST AND THE MOST USED. THE OTHERS FEED INTO IT. THE KISH. IS MY FAVORITE. IT HAS EASY ACCESS AND OFFERS THE TYPE OF RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES THAT I ENJOY THE MOST.
11. I FEEL AN ORGANIZATION SIMILAR TO THE ROCKFORD PARK DISTRICT “FOUNDATION” SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED FOR JUST THOSE PURPOSES.
12. I SUPPORT WIND FARMS BUT ONLY ON A LIMITED BASIS. THEY ARE AN EXCELLENT SOURCE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY BUT ARE CURRENTLY INEFFICIENT COMPARED TO THE AMOUNT OF ENERGY BEING PRODUCED. THEY NEED TO BE CAREFULLY MONITORED NOT TO IMPACT THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.
13. I DON’T KNOW THAT I HAVE A FAVORITE. MY WORK BACKGROUND IS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES SO MOST OF MY RECREATIONAL READING IS INDUSTRY RELATED. THE HISTORY OF OUR ENVIRONMENT IS OF SPECIAL INTREST TO ME REGARDING HOW FINANCES AFFECT OUR ENVIRONMENT.
14. I THINK IT DEPENDS UPON THE TYPE OF DEVELOPMENT. CERTAINLY WE CANNOT RESTRICT DEVELOPMENT TOTALLY BUT WE MUST BE SENSITIVE TO OUR ENVIRONMENT AS TO WHAT IS APPROPRIATE.
15. I AM RETIRED. I OWNED MY OWN FINANCIAL SERVICES BUSINESS [WATERSIDE FINANCIAL GROUP] IN DOWNTOWN ROCKFORD FOR 42 YEARS. I STILL HAVE OWNERSHIP IN THE BUSINESS BUT MY SON IS RUNNING IT NOW.
16. I AM MARRIED. MY WIFE IS A RETIRED TEACHERS AID.
19. WITH CONTINUED IMPROVEMENTS IN FARMING AND RESIDENTIAL AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT, WETLANDS AS SUCH ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE SCARCE. THEY MUST BE PRESERVED WHEN AND WHERE POSSIBLE.
20. I WOULD HAVE TO REVIEW THE BIDS. CONSIDER THE OPTIONS. DEPEND ON STAFF TO PROVIDE ME WITH ADEQUATE AND APPROPRIATE INFORMATION. YES. IN MANY CASES PRIVATIZATION OF SERVICES CAN BE COST EFFECTIVE WITHOUT REDUCING QUALITY.
21. NATURAL RESOURCES ARE SELF EXPLANATORY. LAND, WATER, WIND, AND ALL THE ELEMENTS ON THE PERIODICAL CHART. THE Q QUESTION IS AMBIGUOUS. COST EFFECTIVE FROM WHAT POINT OF VIEW?. I CAN NOT ANSWER THAT QUESTION WITHOUT MORE INFORMATION.
22. ITS A WAY OF LIVING WITHOUT USING UP RESOURCES. ITS HOW WE SHOULD ALL ATTEMPT TO LIVE..
23. FOR CONSERVATION AND SAFETY REASONS. FOR AS LONG AS IS NECESSARY TO MEET AN OBJECTIVE SUCH AS A HUNTING SEASON.
24. I FEEL I AM WELL QUALIFIED BY EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE. I FEEL THE WCFPD NEEDS ITS OWN GOVERNING BODY INSTEAD OF BEING A PART TIME JOB FOR THE COUNTY BOARD.
25. NO! IT WAS MY OWN IDEA.
26. I HAVE NONE. SOME PEOPLE HAVE VOLUNTEERED TO HELP ME BUT I HAVE OFFERED NOTHING IN RETURN.
Loren J. Hainchek
1. Only after exhausting all other options to fund the land acquisition.
2. Four primitive campsites – I’d like to see to how much they cost before making a decision.
3. Three courses. I have no plans of closing or expanding at this point.
4. There should one for each. More research would need to be done to see which FP would be best and a cost study to determine the charge.
5. I’ve been to all but three of them with Hononegah being my favorite. I think it is the “whole package” for a neighborhood/park environment.
6. Around $6M – 2.5% for marketing – in all three but national.
7. No donations have been accepted. Accepting donations would be a conflict of interest, isn’t this a non-partisan post?
8. Is the design of the land and water, how it lays and flows, a detailed map.
9. Usage rights of a property.
10. Four rivers. My favorite is the same as Blackhawk’s – the Rock River. It serves the area the most.
11. Apply for grants, enact usage where appropriate, encourage private donations.
12. Yes based on the location of the land.
13. I’m not a big reader but I do have favorite hiking trails.
14. Residential is fine by me but the others.
15. Self-employed since 1986.
16. Employed by Newell-Rubbermaid since January 2001.
19. Not as high as any of the three.
20. Yes the bids/contracts would be reviewed. Privatization of services only if a good, long term solution and provides a better level of service.
21. Science at its best, if it is saving our forest preserves, they are cost-effective.
22. The ability to support and replenish.
23. If hazardous to the public, native plant restoration, or wildlife related.
24. I’m a blue collar worker and want to bring balance to the board.
25. I did.
26. I have none – this is a non-partisan position.
Craig G. Campbell
1. Considering the present national economic recession and the condition of the Illinois State Budget, I would not recommend a tax referendum for land acquisition. I would consider a bond referendum for land acquisition after a detailed analysis of current Winnebago County Forest Preserve District land acquisition priorities, and a thorough public education campaign highlighting the benefits and costs of such a bond issue.
2. There is only one primitive campsite in the 41 forest preserves in Winnebago County. Increasing the number of primitive campsites in the forest preserves would only have marginal revenue benefits and could prove deleterious for these fragile and remote ecosystems and habitats.
3. The Winnebago County Forest Preserve District (WCFPD) has three golf courses: Macktown Golf Course (opened Aug. 8, 1931); Atwood Homestead Golf Course (opened May 5, 1971); and The Ledges Golf Course (purchased 1977). The expansion or closing of any of these three facilities would only come after a thorough review of the costs and benefits involved. From a historical and philanthropic perspective, Macktown and Atwood Golf Courses have an intrinsic connection to the WCFPD.
4. Deer-forest management is a necessity for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District (WCFPD), since the deer population has no natural predators in Winnebago County and grain is readily available for deer consumption. This problem was first surveyed and demonstrated in 1936 and 1937 by Aldo Leopold and Paul B. Riis on portions of what would become the Severson Dells Forest Preserve. At that time trapping was used to relocate the deer to southern Illinois. Between 1946 to 1953, 300 deer were relocated from the Severson and Colman property by the Illinois Department of Conservation.
The Winnebago County Forest Preserve District currently uses professional hunters to cull deer on their property. This is done to insure that professional wildlife management practices and criteria are applied (i.e., specific deer populations are culled based on age, gender and reproductive capacity). Professional hunters are also used to minimize the environmental impact of these hunts and for obvious liability and legal considerations. Similarly, before any sanctioned public hunt could occur a detailed deer survey of Winnebago County would have to be conducted, as well as a review of the forest preserves to determine which preserves could be used, the type of hunting to be permitted and the specific areas or acreage to be used. Considering the management costs and legal considerations of public hunting, I would not support public hunting in forest preserves at this time.
5. I have visited over 20 of the forest preserves. Severson Dells Forest Preserve is one of my favorites considering its flora, fauna and geology.
6. The 2009 – 2010 WCFPD budget was $7,548,000. This included the forest preserve general fund and the golf courses. Marketing should be directed locally and regionally in Illinois. The percent of the budget to be used for marketing would be dependent upon other fiscal and operational considerations.
7. I have not received any campaign contributions from special interest groups, lobbyists or unions. It should be a policy of the new Winnebago County Forest Preserve Commission not to accept such funds or influence as a governing body.
8. Conservation design is a planning policy and tool to design human habitations, structures, roads and other infrastructure needs to integrate with existing natural habitats and ecosystems to minimize their environmental impact, and support the habitats and biodiversity of our natural resources.
9. “An agricultural easement is a legal agreement limiting the use of land to predominantly agricultural or related use. In this agreement a landowner agrees to use the land only for agricultural purposes and permanently relinquishes the right to develop the land for non-agricultural activities. The landowner retains ownership and management of the land with a governmental entity or non-profit organization “holding” the easement, which grants them the legal right to enforce the agreement. The agricultural easement is a permanent and legally binding restriction upon the land, which does not affect the rights to sell or pass along the land.” Source: http://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/1557.html
The use of agricultural easements is growing in the US and is an effective planning method by which farmland can be preserved from non-agricultural uses. In the US agricultural easements are becoming an effective tool to prevent urban sprawl. They are most effective when they are integrated with existing local or state land use agencies and planning organizations.
10. There are four rivers in Winnebago County with their associated tributaries and lakes: Rock River, Kishwaukee River, Pecatonica River and Sugar River. The Sugar River is my favorite because of its excellent water quality and full aquatic life use.
11. I would support innovative public and private collaborative efforts to acquire more land in keeping with the mandates of the WCFPD and state forest preserve legislation. This could include: the use of land trusts, private and public philanthropic donations, regional cooperative initiatives with other forest preserve, conservation or park districts, use of conservation easements and land bond issues. All of these initiatives would have to be thoroughly researched to insure that they conform to the WCFPD’s land acquisition and management policies.
12. The use of large-scale wind farms is limited due to the technical and environmental considerations. Specific wind gradients and climatological and ecological variances must be researched thoroughly to determine their feasibility. There is also a growing body of evidence that large-scale wind farms may have problematic environmental effects. I would support smaller and more flexible wind turbine and solar technologies in agricultural areas.
13. Peter Matthiessen. Craig G. Campbell.
14. Any development near a forest preserve, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, would have to adhere to existing land use plans, policies and ordinances. In principle, I would oppose residential, commercial or industrial developments near forest preserves because I believe there are more appropriate alternatives.
15. I have worked as a self-employed author and publisher since 1995. I have also worked for the Rockford Board of education since 1988 as a school-bus driver.
16. I am not married.
19. The economic value of wetlands to reduce flooding and improve water quality and habitat has been substantially researched in many parts of the United states. Once considered a nuisance, wetlands now constitute a viable part of local and state economies. However, the various methods used to determine their value vary, and are tied to the full environmental benefits they provide. Simple cost/benefit methods often do not reflect the real or accrued value of wetlands over time.
20. I am opposed to the privatization of WCFPD services since it is a public governing body which is mandated by law to receive public funds for public benefit. Bids and contracts with the WCFPD should be reviewed to insure that they conform in specification, use, management and law for their intended use and application.
21. Natural resource inventories or surveys are essential to determine the health, diversity and extent of the species and habitats studied. They are essential for effective planning and management of natural resources. Natural resource surveys are a first step in determining the health of existing ecosystems, and to identify “at-risk” populations and ecosystems. They also provide a historical data base for future research and planning. They are highly cost effective when used in conjunction with other planning and development data.
22. Sustainability means that one can meet the needs of the present while insuring the needs of future generations. Environmental sustainability means that one conserves and protects natural resources so that they can maintain a dynamic and healthy relationship over time. Sustainability also applies to economic and policy initiatives.
23. I would support the closing of a forest preserve, in part or whole, to preserve an endangered ecosystem or habitat; to preserve and protect rare or endangered flora or fauna; for a public safety risk; to improve or manage forest preserve infrastructure or services; or for reasons deemed necessary by the Forest Preserve Commission. Such actions would have to be approved by the Commission detailing reason, duration and management. Public input would be an integral component of this process.
24. Winnebago County faces critical choices regarding continued economic growth and development. At the core of these concerns is the quality of life that we bequeath to future generations. The preservation of our natural resources and habitats is essential not only for the flora and fauna of our county, but it is also a key factor in attracting new residents and business to our county. The preservation and biodiversity of our prairies, woodlands, and waterways are also essential for clean air, land and water; and our survival as a biological species. I have chosen to run as a Commissioner because it is essential that leadership in the 21st century imbibe a concern for the preservation and quality of our environment with a commitment to prudent, sustainable and integrated growth.
Survey not returned.
1. I have indicated that I would support an active land-acquisition program. I believe the WCFPD can play a role in helping to alleviate and lessen the significance of some of the flood damage we have experienced in this area. As a land acquisition referendum is one tool with which to acquire additional strategic land, I would consider putting forward and supporting just such a measure.
2. Seward Bluffs is one of four preserves which offers a campground and it is currently my favorite location for camping.
3. The WCFPD currently owns and operates four golf courses. In the past golfing fees and sales of associated activities and amenities have supported the care and maintenance of the golf courses. More recently, that has changed and golf and golf-related activities are no longer self supporting. In this economic climate, the offerings / benefits associated with the WCFPD golf courses will need to be further scrutinized.
4. At this time, the input I have received from constituents is that the status quo is acceptable.
5. In the past two years, I have visited about 12 forest preserves. As I mentioned, my current favorite campsite is Seward Bluffs. My family and I camped there recently and had such a wonderful time hiking, exploring, and relaxing.
6. I attended an informational session hosted by Mr. Tom Kalosek and the budget was a main topic. Prior to commenting on a specific percentage of the budget to be spent for marketing, I would need to conduct additional analysis.
7. I have not and will not. I believe the potential for conflict of interest is too great.
8. Conservation Design Principles and Practices
The following definitions and principles are provided by the Conservation Design Resource Manual, 2003.
Conservation design is a design system that takes into account the natural landscape and ecology of a development site and facilitates development while maintaining the most valuable natural features and functions of the site. Conservation design includes a collection of site design principles and practices that can be combined to create environmentally sound development.
The main principles for conservation design are:
1.flexibility in site design and lot size
2.thoughtful protection and management of natural areas
3.reduction of impervious surface areas
4.sustainable stormwater management
9. An agricultural easement is a legal agreement limiting the use of land to predominantly agricultural or related use. In this agreement a landowner agrees to use the land only for agricultural purposes and permanently relinquishes the right to develop the land for non-agricultural activities. The landowner retains ownership and management of the land with a governmental entity or non-profit organization “holding” the easement, which grants them the legal right to enforce the agreement. The agricultural easement is a permanent and legally binding restriction upon the land, which does not affect the rights to sell or pass along the land.
Provisions in the easement allow for termination if farming becomes impossible or impractical, though termination requires significant justification. Termination will be very difficult, and financial recoupment provisions would be enforced. An agricultural easement does not grant ownership or the right to develop the land to the government or nonprofit organization “holding” the easement. Nor does it allow the “holder” to dictate the type of agriculture and conservation practices used on the land or grant public access to the land. It does not grant physical access to the farmer’s land nor is the land covered by the easement removed from the real property tax rolls. http://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/1557.html, 10/23/10.
10. Four rivers: the Rock, Kishwaukee, Sugar, and Pecatonica. My heart goes to the Rock River. I am a student of Rockford history and enjoy learning about the significance of the Rock River in our city’s history – be it our location or our industrial history. As an environmental specialist, I have worked to address environmental concerns associated some of Rockford’s historic industrial sites along the Rock rover and strongly believe efforts to repurpose Brownfields will help alleviate pressures to build and expend to green sites.
11. Exploring both new and existing partnerships is another mechanism to land acquisition.
12. I think a proposed site location would need to be evaluated on a site-by-site basis, including, as appropriate, an Environmental Impact Statement, as per the National Environmental Policy Act.
13. Dr. Seuss and Jane Jacobs.
14. In general, I support principles associated with new urbanism. However, we presently have situations where there are residential, commercial, and industrial developments adjacent to forest preserves.
15. I am an environmental specialist at Fehr-Graham and Associates. I have been there for one year.
16. My husband is a special education teacher with RPS 205.
17. I don’t believe so.
19. Wetland assessment methods have been or are being developed that assign numerical values to wetland functions. http://water.usgs.gov/nwsum/WSP2425/functions.html 10/25/10.
20. At this point, I would not eliminate any option.
21. National Resources Inventory
A statistical survey of land use and natural resource conditions and trends on U.S. non-Federal lands.
22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability 10/23/10 states: Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology, the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions.
Healthy ecosystems and environments provide vital goods and services to humans and other organisms. There are two major ways of reducing negative human impact and enhancing ecosystem services. The first is environmental management; this approach is based largely on information gained from earth science, environmental science, and conservation biology. The second approach is management of human consumption of resources, which is based largely on information gained from economics.
23. Perhaps that would be appropriate if there were sensitive areas of species located within a certain land holding.
24. I have chosen to run as a Commissioner of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District (WCFPD) because I value and appreciate the importance of preserving and protecting key lands and areas in our community.
Both present day and future users benefit from judicious land use and preservation. In recent years, our area has experienced much damage and destruction as a result of flooding. I believe the WCFPD can play a role in helping to alleviate the traumatic effects of flooding by selectively acquiring lands. This could be accomplished by forming and enhancing existing partnerships with area organizations and taking steps toward achieving a shared vision.
25. I did and my husband and family fully support my decision to run and believe I would make an ideal Commissioner.
26. My friends and family have helped me during this campaign.
Gloria M. Lind
Survey not returned.
Ruth M. Garrett
Survey not returned.
1. I am not in favor of increasing taxes for land acquisition, specifically at this time. The public has made their own personal sacrifices, many of them with a reduced income or lost income, and are not in a position for a tax increase. We need to look for innovative ways for land acquisition, including collaborations, donations and grants.
2. The WCFPD has campsites at four of their preserves. I have camped at one, Sugar River. In addition, two preserves allow for equestrian camping, which would be primitive. Primitive campsites may offer additional revenue opportunities; this would be balanced with the cost of maintaining the area as well as establishing an acceptable amount of additional income for operations and / or acquisition. I would be open to consider how this may be expanded.
3. There are three golf courses owned and operated by the WCFPD. I would not close any, instead we should consider what may need to be done to increase revenue beyond self sufficiency and sustainability.
4. There are opportunities to increase revenue within the WCFPD with seasonal hunting. The potential for revenue by requiring an additional fee and reducing the expenses of hiring sharp shooters cannot be ignored. The amount of the fee would need to be studied to determine an appropriate value.
5. I have visited approximately 1/2 of the 41 preserves. Many of them are unique and can easily be considered favorite. I favor Macktown because of my experiences there, including being the Architect of the Education Center. Currently my favorite to visit is Blackhawk Springs, probably just because of its location and I enjoy walking my yellow lab.
6. Last year’s budget (fiscal 2010), based on the provided information by the WCFPD, was just over $5.8 mil with projected net revenue of just over $25k. This year’s estimate is more of a concern, with revenue at $4.74mil and expenses just under $5.18mil there is a deficit of just over $437k. Marketing accounts for approximately $200k of the budget (just under 4% ). To determine how much should be spent, we should first examine what we have to market, our camping, golf courses, structures and educational facilities. Determine the competition and the audience; then create a structured marketing program.
7. I haven’t received contributions from any companies or unions. I have accepted contributions from my family and a friend. I have accepted a personal check from Robert Stenstrom. I believe he understands that, as an architect, I am always looking for what is good for the community; it is part of my training and commitment.
8. Conservation design is a process where existing natural features, flora and fauna can be conserved while still allowing for development. It is sensible design.
9. An agricultural easement is a type of easement that restricts a property so that it cannot be developed for commercial or residential use. It may have a sunset, or run continuously. It does not transfer ownership, and therefore the Owner still maintains all responsibilities associated with the land.
10. There are four rivers in Winnebago County. I have been on all four. I used to canoe the Pecatonica and Kishwaukee rivers. I camped along the Sugar River. And I experience the Rock River daily. My favorite again is difficult to answer as they all have uniqueness to them. If I had to choose one today, I would say the Kishwaukee River, only because I have spent more of my free time in and around it recently.
11. The WCFPD should explore a variety of ways to acquire revenue for land preservation, including grant funds, collaborative projects that help adjacent communities and collaborations with higher education on environmental studies. We should be open to discuss a multitude of ideas in order to examine the greatest potential for the WCFPD.
12. As we move closer to relieving our dependency on fossil fuels, we need to explore all options for expanding clean energy. I support the use of wind farms for clean energy.
13. My favorite environmental author is William McDonough, which you may or may not see him as “environmental author”, however understanding his research and studies truly illustrates a consciousness of cohabiting with the natural environment and the consequences of our actions.
14. Yes, I do support development adjacent to WCFPD properties, if it is the right location and sensible development.
15. I am employed by Rockford Associates Incorporated, Planners+Architects. I have been employed here since I founded the firm on March 15, 2000.
16. My wife is employed by Rockford Health Systems, at Rockford Memorial Hospital for over twenty years.
17. I do not have any relatives that could present any conflict of interest.
18. New land acquisitions should only be made one of two ways, either a donation to the WCFPD or through fair market pricing. I would not support any other unfair alternative.
19. I would seek input from greater expertise then I to identify the value of wetlands.
20. As a Board Member, I would review bids and contracts for which we are responsible. As for privatization of services, I would consider it to determine if I believe it is right for the WCFPD and the community.
21. The inventories of Natural Resources and Natural Species provide us with an understanding of the condition of the WCFPD and potential areas for concern. I am not familiar enough with the current process to understand the cost effectiveness of this process, but would encourage the topic be further discussed so that it is a cost effective process.
22. Sustainability is meeting the present needs without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their needs. For the WCFPD, we should look at our life cycle and operating costs to determine the sustainability of our current responsibilities as well as utilization of such analysis when considering any future acquisitions.
23. Closing off sections of the forest preserve would need to be proposed by the staff with a logical explanation of the reasoning and duration. There may be logical reasons for doing so, such as re-growth, transformation or species protection / stabilization.
24. Why I want to be a member of the WCFPD Board of Directors, because I believe that my experience as an architect can play a role in balancing the interests of the public with the preservation mission of the district. My background has always included an element of public service. Architect’s have responsibility not only to themselves and their clients, but to the public as well.
My experience in serving the profession and the public includes being President Elect to the Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects. My experience in serving our community by being a past Regional Commissioner for AYSO, which provided soccer as a competitive and recreational activity to the citizens; and my involvement as a Board Member of the Northern Illinois Food Bank exemplifies my concern for the well being of our community.
I believe in a balance of creating and sustaining places for outdoor recreation as well as preservation of the natural habitat. The edge between the built environment and the natural habitat is where the majority of the public has the ability to experience a connection to the forest preserve. The district is tailored to provide a variety of experiences, which works to assure that it remains an asset for all of our citizens.
I also believe the Forest Preserve District is a viable educational source that perhaps could have an expanded role with our local school districts, and possible higher education collaboration.
Are there ways the Forest Preserve District may be able to collaborate with other entities in providing and protecting the environment, as well as expanding our opportunities? This is something to be explored through collaboration with our municipalities, sanitary districts and storm water management.
25. I had decided I wanted to run for this position when I first read about the potential restructuring of the governing body. I have been encouraged by family and friends as well as some of our current leaders.
26. My campaign workers are my family and a few friends that have placed signs on their property. I do not believe it is proper to place signs in the public parks, as it defeats the purpose of the parks; public land should not be used for personal gain. My financial supporters include my family, my mother and step-father, and Mr. Stenstrom.
James F. (Jim) Benkovich
2. The number of campsites (4) could be increased to 8-10 and could provide additional revenues and build additional community support.
3. (3) golf courses (Macktown, Ledges, Atwood). The Forest Preserve got into the golf business in with building of Macktown golf course in 1931. It has long history of offering excellent golf courses to thousands of golfers to enjoy 7-8 months a year. These courses also provide cross country skiing, hiking and bird watching opportunities though out the winter.
I’m a golfer who grew up playing the beautiful Macktown course when it just $3 for a season pass (1956). I was on the Hononegah golf team
It’s my understanding that the 3 forest preserve courses (Macktown, Atwood & Ledges) pay for their operation expenses but come up short funding capital improvements. In view of the 9-10 new private courses that have opened in the Stateline area over the past 20 years, competition is tough. I may be an optimist and a marketing guy, but I think we if invest in more aggressive promotion programs and offer more competitive rates (particularly for kids), that we can make the forest preserve golf course system a winner and an important recreational offering.
4. I think Boone County’s lottery system for bow hunters to reduce excessive deer populations in preserves is good example of limited hunting with residents paying a reasonable fee for the privilege.
5. 7 or 8. Hononegah, Sugar River and Macktown preserves are my favorites. Hononegah was my mother’s family farm / park which became the first acquisition of the new Wn. Cty. Forest Preserve in 1924.
6. Published budget figures are questionable. Investments in marketing communications are an essential component of a strategic plan that the new board will be tasked with. The district needs to aggressively build increased favorable awareness locally, statewide and regionally of our many wonderful offerings. Many local companies are recognized leaders both nationally and globally in their respective industries. In time, we could also achieve national recognition if we have the leadership, staff, resources, planning and public goodwill and support. Integration of marketing strategies is critical to achieve increased public awareness and use of our forest preserve system.
7. No. Any donations from those special interests represent a conflict of interest, period!
10. Rock, Pecatonica, Sugar and Kishwaukee. The Rock is my favorite because growing up in Rockton and I lived 3 blocks from the damn. Fished, canoed, hunted, clammed, and swam in the Rock. Also, I have studied not only Stephen Mack’s history but also the archeology of the area going back 12,000 years ago. It is an incredibly rich area for Indian artifacts. This area represents a tremendous opportunity to attract school children, adults and groups interested in early settler life and Indian life going back thousands of years. The confluence of the Pec and Rock was a major transportation system for Indian settlement and culture.
11. Grants have and will continue to be an essential strategy for land acquisition. However, development and maintenance costs of new acquisitions must be accounted for.
12. No. Massive wind power installations are not only an eyesore but also decimate local bird and bat populations. And the cost per kw generated can’t come close to competing with nuclear, coal and natural gas.
13. Aldo Leopold
14. I’d like to see an appropriate buffer zones depending upon the nature of the preserve.
15. President, Benkovich & Associates Ltd (current), Marketing support services for national manufacturers of environment related equipment and systems and metal working industries. I was Aqua-Aerobics Systems’ ( water pollution control eqmt.) first national sales manager. Travel took me to every state and most Canadian provinces working with consulting engineers, company environmental staffs, and state and federal EPA officials.
Co author of “Pollution Engineering Handbook”
16. Married to Mavis 46 yrs., 3 sons, 9 grandchildren. Mavis is co-owner and manages financial matters of our firm.
18. Yes, during my 16 years on Hononegah School Board ( 4 as Pres.) I led the development of strategies and programs that allowed the school to acquire 22 adjacent houses that enabled the school to expand the current site. We did not use eminent domain and gave owners the best price of 3 professional assessments of their property.
19. Research similar sales.
20. During the board’s first year, everything should be on the table for review and evaluation.
22. As it applies to parks and recreation, it would refer to land, or parks that pay for themselves.
23. No – public access means exactly that.
24. Because I think I could bring marketing & communication skills would help increase public appreciation and use of our resources. My long term experience on Hononegah Board of Education may be beneficial in regards to board governance and the importance of building and maintaining public good will and trust.
25. Family and friends
26. Family and friends . . . no formal campaign committee
Cheryl A. Maggio
Survey not returned.
Clinton J. Cole
Survey not returned.
1. I would not. As Roscoe Township Supervisor, we spent $3 million for the Hononegah Path, Stone Bridge Trail, Kin-Wood-Creek path, Kelley/Myers Park, Kinnikinnick Preserve, and we are building a 42 acre youth sports park on Hononegah road. We raised $2 million from grants and donations and $1 million from saved Township funds with no new tax dollars. The Forest Preserve budget is about 6 to 7 times larger than Roscoe Township. With good planning, fiscal responsible spending, saved funds, and use of grants and donations; the Forest Preserve can live within their existing tax structure.
2. I only know of the camp sites at the Sugar River Preserve, about 12, but am uncertain of others. There is some money in camping sites like at Rock Cut. I don’t know if primitive sites would produce fees but it is worth exploring.
3. There are three golf courses. I’ve already commented in my material to put course closure on the table. This is a complicated issue. I think golf is a good use of some Forest Preserve land. But our primary purpose is preservation and restoration and golf is not a primary function. We need to work towards golf paying for itself. Golf play has dropped all over Illinois. Two Forest Preserves in Illinois have closed courses. The Forest Preserve’s yearly rounds have dropped from 150,000 rounds to about 88,000 rounds over the last decade and the Park District has a similar experience. The number of golf courses in our play region has increased to as many as three times the number of courses over this same decade. Golf has lost over $700,000 in the last three years. There are other options worth exploring, including ideas put forward by Tim Dempke and Scott Christiansen, before closing golf courses. I’m not ready to say which courses should be closed but some lend themselves to other uses.
4. I feel there is a valid consideration to using hunters in remote areas to cull herds of deer. I am not a fan of hunting as a normal use of the Forest Preserve.
5. At 67 years old, I’m not certain over the years how many preserves I have been in but it has been most of them. Two of my retired friends and I walk twice a week and move around to explore as many preserves, paths and parks as possible. While the kishwaukee corridor is a great place, the place I enjoyed the most this year was not in a county preserve. The Nygren wetlands were very interesting because of the wild life. We saw the Sand Hill Cranes this summer.
6. Depending on before or after being amended, the last year budget was $8.4 million or $9.2 million and the proposed budget for this year is $7.5 million and is being reduced. While eco-tourism is a valid consideration, I would be unprepared to speculate on a marketing budget without more study and review.
7. No. I just spent $300 of my own money.
8. I saw an interesting presentation at the Forest Preserve office a few years ago. It is a way of designing subdivisions, for example, where open space and preservation is built into the design by clustering homes etc.
9. Agricultural easements are a way to preserve agricultural land for agricultural use forever. The land owner enters into this easement and the easement follows the sale of the land.
10. There are four rivers. The Kishwaukee, Sugar, and Pec are more my favorites. But my favorite waterway is the south branch of the Kinnikinnick Creek. It is a cold water stream and has brown trout in it and it goes through the Townships preserve.
11. I answered this question with my answer to #1. But one additional comment. It would be premature to seek more money before we answered a number of other questions like; how much land can we afford to maintain? How much land should we preserve? What are our plans, time table and direction for preservation? Some of this has been addressed but a new board needs to visit this as part of their own plan.
12. This is not an easy one line answer. Green power is important. There are areas where wind power might not be a good partner because of the remote needs and natural preservation of these areas. But there are many Forest Preserves where wind power in adjacent agriculture would be okay. There are no ideal or perfect answers but I feel wind is an important alternative.
13. I’m not really an environmental reader but I am aware of Aldo Leapold.
14. Mixed use zoning has become a viable consideration. For instance having sports fields separating industrial from residential subdivisions might be a good plan. But I would think locating industrial or residential near certain sensitive use preserves or remote preserves would not be a good plan or use. Places like Hononegah Forest Preserve have existed just fine with residential next to it.
16. Roscoe Township Assessor for ten years.
18. and 19. Market value is a subjective estimate and can vary between different appraisers depending on comparables, assumed usage, and skills of the appraiser. But it is an important measurement in determining what to pay for land to make sure fair prices are paid. Wetlands are different and may have little or no value for development but are highly valued for preservation. There has to be a lot of judgment and maybe different criteria to be used in the consideration for purchasing wetlands.
20. I am a very detailed person and would always spend time reviewing contracts. Privatization is a very important option in considering the long term cost and operation of various services. Where available, privatized services must be reviewed as a viable way to save money and or do a better job of providing service.
21. Planning, evaluating, and providing inventories are an important part of any business. When your business is preservation and restoration, resourse/natual species inventories are important. Knowing where located and the condition of threatened species and dealing with proper restoration requires taking good inventories.
22. I believe it relates to the type of restoration applied to Forest Preserve areas. For instance, part of the new Stone Bridge Preserve will be restored to oak savannas while other areas will be restored to either wet land or dry land prairies. The restoration fits the original environments.
23. Maybe because of the sensitivity of the area and the nature of its make up and use. Some land might be closed because of seasonal issues like migration, while others might be permanently closed because of threatened species etc.
24. I feel I have experience and the understanding of the importance of preservation that would be helpful in the establishment and operation of this new board.
25. Myself. My wife does feel there are lots of other things I should be doing around the house.
26. Myself. I have visited with many individuals with various experience and knowledge to get an educated background for the position.