Land Preservation

 What we do

Preserving vital landscapes is an important part of the work we do at Barrington Area Conservation Trust. 95% of the land in Illinois is private property. Through conservation easements and heritage corridors, BACT and other land trusts in Illinois are able to help protect open spaces and conservation values of land on private property.

 How do you benefit from land conservation?

Open lands are the key to a healthy and secure future for all Americans. While climate change is already upon us, land conservation is one of the most successful strategies that communities can take to prepare for the growing threat. Trees, native vegetation and wetlands filter air and water. In fact, forests, prairies and other natural habitats sequester absorb approximately 15% of the United State’s carbon dioxide emissions, keeping it from the earth’s atmosphere. In addition to absorbing carbon, woodlands and urban forests also measurably cool urban areas. Conserved, well-managed land also provides protection from the large volumes of rainwater that increasingly falls in sporadic, large deluges. Our community loses  these benefits when open land is converted for development. 


In addition to health and food benefits, conserving land increases property values. Research shows that land conservation adds an economic value by boosting local economies, saves money on healthcare, filters drinking water, provides natural disaster mitigation and more.

  • Protecting community resources that come from the land, including water, food security, wildlife and places for recreation and reflection
  • Promoting stronger local communities by giving citizens the knowledge and support they need to reach out and work with their neighbors to protect the local places they need and love
  • Serving as a part of a national community of land trust staff, volunteers, members and advocates committed to private land conservation across the country

Across the country, local citizens and communities have joined together to save the places they cherish by establishing land trusts. These non-profit, community-based conservation organizations acquire and protect land for the public good. Strong land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and long-term caretakers of their critical land resources.

The nation’s 1,700 + land trusts work with communities to acquire and manage land for the purpose of permanent conservation and then steward the land for public benefit. The land trusts are on the front lines with their local communities to help them save America’s land heritage.

Over the years, land trusts have been extraordinarily successful, having protected more than 56 million acres of land, according to the National Land Trust Census.

 (Source: Land Trust Alliance)



Protected Properties in the Barrington Area – Click on map to enlarge



 Our Preserves

While the primary goal of Barrington Area Conservation Trust is to preserve private land through conservation easements, BACT accepts donations and land acquisitions through bargain sales that preserve critical open space.

Katie’s Marsh

Ridge Rd, North of Lake Cook Rd & south of Oak Knoll Rd, Barrington

Scot and Tiffany Thomas donated 6.7 acres of their sprawling property to BACT in honor of Scot’s daughter, Katie. Katie’s Marsh is primarily a wetlands with Flint Creek running through the property. It serves an important function for the area as stormwater storage, as well as filtering water through the area. As part of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative buckthorn eradication and native screening plant program, BACT removed buckthorn along Ridge Road and planted a variety of native plants.

The estate was formerly owned by Jules Montenierwho was an inventor and cosmetic chemist. Montenier received a patent on modern-day anti-perspirant and created the product Stopette, whose slogan “Poof, there goes perspiration” was featured on What’s My Line in the 1950s. His wife, a botanical enthusiast, created a beautiful botanic garden on the property in the early 1960s, remnants of which can still be seen today. She also raised a herd of deer in the meadow and rare black swans on the pond.

“I really love the story of this land and how the previous owner created an oasis on it,” says Scot. “When we moved here, we really appreciated the open spaces and the vista, and we thought that donating this land would be a wonderful way to honor Katie and to give back to the community.”



Click above right for full-screen mode.

Video Credit: Luke Peterson

Thank you to Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for their grant support.

Far Field Nature Preserve

W County Line Rd & Old Sutton Rd, Barrington

Far Field Nature Preserve is a 12-acre natural area located in Barrington Hills that was donated to BACT in 2014. The long-term stewardship goal for this property is to convert this former soybean field back to an oak savanna and mixed hardwood woodland. Restoration has included removal of woody invasive plants from 3 acres of woodland, replanting the woodland with oak native trees, shrubs, flowers and sedges, over seeding the savanna and conducting prescribed burns of the savanna.

It was named for its “far” distance from the home of Steve and Mary Smith.  “It will remain a peaceful place for people to drive past and to traverse on horseback,” says Mary Smith, thinking of how the beautiful savanna will further enhance the community she treasures.

Pederson Preserve

Hart Rd & W County Line Rd, Barrington

Pederson Preserve is a 5.6-acre parcel of land adjacent to Flint Creek at the southwest corner of Lake-Cook and Hart Roads which connects more than 20 acres of prairie and wetlands owned by PepsiCo Research and Development Technical Center to the east with another five-acre conservation easement held by BACT to the west.

Funds were provided by a generous grant from Frederica “Freddie” Smith Pederson and BACT’s “Save Our Countryside” Fund to purchase the property. The property is named the “Pederson Preserve” in honor of Freddie’s late husband, Keith Pederson, who was a distinguished Barrington citizen.

Barrington High School students and teachers, volunteers from the community, and Boy Scouts have been helping restore and improve this preserve since 2011.



The Brothers’ Preserve

In 2011, Stephen, Christopher, David and Harold Byron Smith donated this 8-acre property to the Barrington Area Conservation Trust.  This donation serves as a buffer property to the Spring Lake Illinois Nature Preserve, designated as one of the highest quality nature preserves in the state.

The Spring Lake preserve is part of the nearly 4,000 acre Spring Creek Forest Preserve,  owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, which has been identified as an Important Bird Area by Audubon Chicago Region.  The preserve is home to threatened grassland and shrubland bird species including Henslow Sparrow, Dickcissel, Bob-o-link, and Eastern Meadowlark. The Brothers’ Preserve adds additional breathing room for these birds that require significant open space in order to breed.

The Brothers’ Preserve also provides permanent protection of the bridle path that runs through the property, keeping the open space equestrian character of the land intact for all time.

Jack David Mondschine Wildlife Conservation Area

Jack David Mondschine Wildlife Conservation Area is a 5.28-acre wooded ravine with an intermittent stream corridor located on the northwest edge of Barrington Hills. Naming the preserve in honor of her father, donor Jenese Busch saw it as “a place where animals can freely come and seek shelter without fear of being injured by human activity.”

Mondschine Preserve in Barrington Hills donated in 2008.