When planning a fun and relaxing Illinois vacation, make sure to include the Greenspace and Trails Galena on your “to do” list of outdoor activities. The Greenspace consists of about 1500 acres distributed throughout the Territory that are maintained to protect and restore the natural character of the area. The Greenspace environment includes many things ranging from the country character, to the rolling landscape, and to the sense of nature that takes us away from everyday worries, at least for a short time. Originally, the area consisted of prairie grasslands, open savannas, and oak/hickory forests. The environment was extremely rich with over 900 species of plants, 270 species of birds, 45 species of mammals, and over 30 species of reptiles and amphibians. Before the Territory was formed, much of the land was farmed, and hence the environmental quality was degraded. Today we are actively restoring several sites to their original appearance. The trail system is incorporated within the Greenspace, with over 40 miles of trails so everyone can enjoy exploring and hiking the area. The ongoing effort to protect the Greenspace includes:
Restoration and Preservation. Protect the remaining prairie remnants and restore other prairie areas by burning, pruning, and reseeding. Woodland areas are also protected by removing invasive plant species, selective pruning to save shade intolerant trees, e.g. oaks, and occasional woodland burns.
Site surveys. Plant and animal inventories are taken to identify all the species present and to determine when and if some species are exceeding sustainable numbers.
Trail maintenance. This includes improving the trail beds, mowing, weed control, and posting signs. A new trail map brochure has been jointly produced by the GTA.
Education. Several special events, open to all property owners, are conducted every year to provide information about the area and to help people actively manage their own land. Several brochures have been produced for self-guided tours of selected Greenpace sites.
Site steward program. Individual property owners can become site stewards of Greenspace sites near their own property. We will help people establish a site plan and then implement it.
Watershed conservation. The Lake Galena, IL watershed covers about 10,000 acres, and runoff into the lake includes sediment and chemicals that adversely affects its quality. To help control the runoff, the GTA was awarded two EPA 319 grants where we have partnered with the local Soil and Water Conservation District, and Guilford Township.
The Greenspace programs are overseen by the Greenspace Committee, which meets the second Saturday of every month at 8:30 AM at the Property Owners’ Club. All our Galena cabins’ guests are welcome to participate.