Vote Yes for Clean Air, Water & Wildlife

On Election Day, November 8, Cook County voters will have an historic opportunity to Vote Yes on a countywide referendum to improve and protect the wondrous natural areas that comprise the forest preserves including water resources, air quality, and wildlife habitats.

Friends of the Chicago River, a long-time partner of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, enthusiastically supports this vital referendum, and we are actively working with a large and diverse Vote Yes coalition to get out the vote. The Chicago-Calumet River system flows through much of the nearly 70,000 acres of forest preserves.

A major goal of the referendum is to help fund the Next Century Conservation Plan of the forest preserves which includes expanding the forest preserves and doubling the acreage currently restored to reach 30,000 acres in good or excellent ecological health. Healthy forest preserves contribute directly to healthy rivers.

Endorsed by the Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune, the Vote Yes referendum would allow a very small property tax increase of 0.025% to help fund significant forest preserves projects that support cleaner air and water quality, reduce flooding, and improve wildlife protection. That amounts to less than $1.66 per month for the vast majority of homeowners – such a small price to protect, restore, and expand our forest preserves, ensuring cleaner air and water quality, and reducing flooding. The Sun-Times wrote: “With more natural land in a heavily populated area than anywhere else in North America, the preserves are almost like having a national park right here at home.”

Vote Yes campaign ads featuring acclaimed actor and Illinois native Nick Offerman are also airing.

Voting by mail is already underway and in-person early voting for all registered Cook County voters begins October 24. Residents who are not registered to vote may register and cast their ballot on Election Day with two qualifying forms of identification. For more information, visit