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Former DNR officer speaks out

January 18, 2012

I found your recent article on trees being removed from OUR forest preserves very interesting. Also, the input from residents who live near the forest preserves hit the nail on the head. I’m attaching an e-mail I sent to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District prior to the start of cutting. I wonder if the DNR’s forestry department was contacted to estimate the value of the trees to be cut and whose pocket the money would go in. That set aside, the damage PERMANENTLY done is unbelievable. Again, we find the public be damned by another tax-supported agency. I also have firsthand info that local bird clubs questioned the removal of trees some time before the actual cutting. Thank The Rock River Times for bringing this to the attention of the general public.

Neil McLaughlin
Rockton, Ill.

From: Neil <[XXXXXX@XXXXXX].com>
To: <thartley@wcfpd.org>
Sent: Friday, December 9, 2011 7:22 PM
Subject: Work Planned

Mr. Hartley;

An interesting and somewhat troubling work effort has come to my attention. IE the removal of trees from Roland Olson, Pecatonica River and Fuller Memorial Forest Preserves. Removing said trees not only affects wildlife, but also affects air quality. Prairie restoration is given as a reason for said action. One only has to drive Winnebago County, to see the subdivisions and urban sprawl. In 24 years of serving the public, I’ve walked all of the public (and much of the private) lands in Winnebago County. Past leaders with the WCFPD have been responsible and diligent in their handling of taxpayer-supported lands. My hope is that will continue.

Neil McLaughlin
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (retired)

From the Jan. 18-24, 2012, issue

One Comment

  1. Josh Price

    January 18, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Again, knowing the local market for pine timber, I seriously doubt anyone made much money off this sale. Cutting some non-native trees does not cause permanent damage. Building subdivisions and strip malls would cause something more closely resembling “permanent damage”. As far as birds go, I’m no expert but I do know that many rare bird species use prairie. environments.

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