CHICAGO (CBS) — One of the treasures of Cook County, the Cook County Forest Preserve District, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. On Wednesday, county commissioners paid tribute to the district’s founders.
Commissioners gave a lengthy standing ovation to the descendants of Dwight Perkins and Jens Jensen, the original founders of the Cook County Forest Preserves, who were on hand to mark the 100th anniversary of the district’s first board meeting in 1915.
Commissioner Peter Silvestri (R-9th) grew up near a preserve in Elmwood Park.
“People from other places don’t realize the great assests that we have in having this ring of forest preserves in an urbanized area,” he said.
The initial 500 acres of preserves has morphed into nearly 70,000 acres, and growing, which Commissioner Bridget Gainer (D-10th) called a “release valve” for city residents.
“There’s a lot of hassles to city living. Sometimes the proximity to each other doesn’t always lead to the best outcomes, and so having this release valve is an incredible thing,” she said.