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Something’s Going on in Alden Township!

Published on
03 January 2022

In 2003, Nancy Deborah Wicker (1925-2016) donated a conservation easement on 13-1/2 acres of land on Crowley Road in Alden Township in the northwest part of McHenry County. This was the first conservation property in the township west of McHenry County Conservation District’s Alden Sedge Meadow Conservation Area, located 2-1/2 miles east of Nancy’s property. Many township residents were sharing native seed and helping each other burn their natural lands, but Nancy took a step no one else had – yet – when she permanently preserved her land for the benefit of current and future generations. Since then, land conservation has blossomed in Alden Township, with properties large and small, public and private, creating a robust network of conservation land in an area known as High Point. The name is a reference to the highest glaciated point in Illinois (1,189 feet above sea level), located in the northwest part of the township. As you’ll see in the accompanying story, even more land was preserved in December 2021!

All of the colored areas on the maps are permanently protected land.

December Brings More Conservation in Alden Township

On December 15, a 76-acre high-quality natural area was preserved within the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge with the generous support of TLC, Illinois Audubon Society and Openlands. The local conservation community sought to preserve this 76-acre natural area for over 30 years. The property includes a stretch of Alden Creek, ancient oaks, high-quality wetlands, and it expands habitat for endangered species, including the Blanding’s turtle.

As one can see from the map, the 76-acre property fills a gap in a large complex of conservation lands.

Susan McCowin and Randy Rapp in 2006 after donating an easement on two acres of their Alden Township property.

Thank you to TLC members Randy Rapp & Susan McCowin, June & Steve Keibler, Thomas & Ellen Walvoord, Doug Hawthorne & Margaret Fox-Hawthorne, and Randy & Karen Stowe for making special donations to preserve this 76-acre gem.

Then, at the end of the month, Randy Rapp & Susan McCowin donated the 5.7-acre property where they have lived since 1984 to TLC subject to a Life Estate. That means they will continue to live there, take care of the home and property, pay property taxes, and when they no longer wish to live there – or are unable to live there – the property will become TLC’s.

What a perfect location for a future TLC office, staff residence, meeting place, space for equipment storage, intern housing, etc. The land includes a house, heated garage/workshop and barn as well as a stretch of Alden Creek and several acres of remnant oak woods. It is nestled amongst the Alden area conservation land and, with its location in Alden Township, the Rapp-McCowin property will serve TLC and conservation for generations. We all are grateful for the decades-long contributions of many for these amazing Alden Township achievements for conservation.