Forest Preserve

Yellow butterfly lands on purple flowers

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County acquire... and hold lands... for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora, fauna and scenic beauties... for the purpose of the education, pleasure and recreation of the public.


The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County was established in 1915, when voters cast ballots to protect against the removal of woodlands. For the first year of operation, $8,000 was appropriated to create, manage, and maintain the new forest preserve. County supervisors who governed the District spent the next two years working out operating details for the fifth county forest preserve district in the country.

In 1917, the first tax levy was made and the first preserve land was purchased: 79 acres in Oak Brook, called York Woods. Today, the Forest Preserve District owns and manages more than 23,000 acres and has an annual budget of more than $175 million. Each year, more than 1.5 million people visit the Forest Preserve District's 600-plus acres of shimmering lakes, 60 miles of river and streams, and over 80 miles of trails that offer scenic views and many fun ways to enjoy your leisure time.

Board of Commissioners

The Forest Preserve District's Board of Commissioners translates the open space needs of county residents into ordinances designed to protect and enhance natural areas and to ensure an enjoyable experience for all. It is divided into six committees that determine policy by first reviewing items being considered and then making recommendations for approval by the full commission.

Since December 2002, when the Commission was restructured, the Forest Preserve District has been governed by a seven-member board. One member is elected from each of the six county districts to a staggered two-year term. The seventh Commissioner, the president, is elected by the county at large by popular vote.