Smith Family Donates Land Adjacent to Spring Creek

Stephen, Christopher, David and Harold Byron Smith have donated eight acres of land on Old Sutton Road to the Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACT). The land is an important wildlife and bird habitat and is adjacent to the Spring Lake area of the Spring Creek Forest Preserve.

“The Smiths’ donation supports our mission of protecting open space to prevent increased density and to preserve our special landscape,” said Karen Yancey, BACT executive director. “In addition, it adds to our private land protection goals by preserving land of high conservation value in the Barrington area.”

The land is particularly important as wildlife habitat because the approximately 4,000-acre Spring Creek Forest Preserve, owned and managed by the Cook County Forest Preserve, has been identified as an Important Bird Area by Audubon Chicago Region. The preserve is home to endangered grassland and shrubland birds, including the Henslow Sparrow, Dickcissel, Bob-o-link, and Eastern Meadowlark.

“Grassland birds are happy to breed in a pasture or a hay meadow,” said Steve Packard, founding director of Audubon Chicago region. “This donation protects a portion of grasslands that adds to the complex of grasslands and wetlands that serve as important nesting habitat for these endangered birds.”

The parcel is also adjacent to the Spring Lake area of the Spring Creek Forest Preserve. Spring Lake, which comprises 560 acres of the larger Spring Creek Forest Preserve, was designated as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1965, giving it special protected status. Spring Lake preserve is a mosaic of woodlands, prairie, marsh, fen, old field plant communities and two glacial lakes. Most of the area surrounding the lakes is a peat-filled depression that supports a variety of aquatic vegetation and wetland wildlife. The glacial lakes are fed and drained by Spring Creek, a tributary of the Fox River.

“The Smith donation also includes a provision for protection of the equestrian trails on the property,” Yancey said. “It also provides a significant buffer for the wild land and beautiful lakes that are part of the Spring Lake Preserve. We are so grateful to the Smith family for this valuable land donation.”


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