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Winnebago County acquires Funderburg Farms, turns it into newest forest preserve

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 5:00 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County announce the acquisition of the former Funderburg Farms property on the southwest corner of Meridian and Montague Road.

It’s the Forest Preserves' 44th and one of the largest stand-alone preserves in the county at 868.6 acres. The county purchased the land for $3.519M with the help of a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF).

The ICECF provides grants to protect both natural areas and wildlife habitat in communities throughout Illinois. The Foundation felt this acquisition was significant enough to award a grant that provided $3M to the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County toward the purchase of approximately 850 undeveloped acres of this forest preserve.

Mike Holan, Forest Preserves of Winnebago County Executive Director, highlighted some of the features of the new R. Robert Funderburg Forest Preserve at a press conference on Monday.

“We’ll certainly be able to hike the property and take (photographs), if they’re big into photography," said Holan. "Whether it’s wildlife photography or plant photography, close up photography. The other thing is, because we have the Severson Dells Nature Center right next door, they’ll be doing educational programs out here.”

Holan also said there will not be any major development to the property besides adding the hiking trails, some cleanup, and minor details. He said he wants to keep the property the way it is.

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