The state advisory board is weighing proposed new forest preserves in Greene and Floyd Counties. The Greene County site is the Eureka Woods preserve and would cover 106 acres on the banks of the North Raccoon River flanking old Lincoln Highway. The steep slopes rising up from the river are heavily forested and according to a DNR survey, the area has more than 180 different plant species. DNR spokesman John Pearson says it would be one of only a few state preserves on private land. “The landowners would remain in control, just like any other private property. So there’s no public use automatically allowed; you’d have to ask for permission from the owners like any other private property.” The Floyd County site is the 315-acre Fossil and Prairie Park owned by the Floyd County Conservation Board. The area contains fossils and a limestone quarry once opperated by the Rockford Brick and Tile Company. Several endangered animal and plant species can also be found there. Pearson says past precident suggests both parks will likely be approved. Pearson says “We’ve never had one get this far and not become a preserve in the past, but we have public comments for a purpose and it’ll just depend on what those comments are and how the board chooses to react to them.” Two local residents came up with the plan and provided the land for Eureka Woods in 2002. The state preserves board will make a decision on the site in early April. Public comments on the proposed sites will be accepted through March 15th.
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