Opinion – Attorney General Newton, by Cheney, First Deputy
The idea of the protection of the Forest Preserve goes not only to the protection of wild game, control of water supply, rain fall, temperature, timber, etc., but also to the creation and maintenance of a healthful play ground and recreation place with the attributes of a wild forest park as distinguished from the more or less familiar urban parks so common throughout the country. The preserve should not only have its timber supply jealously protected but every effort should be made to have it retain the CHARACTER of wild forest lands which means much more than simply the protection of the trees thereon.
When the Constitution says it shall be “forever kept as wild forest lands,” I think means wild forest withal the significance the term bears. The removal of the face of a bluff for rock in a specific case might not to any great degree trench upon the general theory of retention of the preserve as wild land, but it would seem to be a step in the wrong direction, a move toward commercialization instead of toward preservation and might become the opening wedge to other and greater infractions of the strict rule so long considered controlling. It would become a precedent by which future conduct and opinions would be more or less influenced and controlled.
On March 17, 1908 (Attorney General’s Reports, 1908, p. 144) Attorney General Jackson rendered an opinion to the State Assembly in regard to highways in the preserve and at page 146 says: “If one foot of land or timber is allowed to be taken, there will be no limit to the encroachments that will crowd through the door of such precedent. The fact that roads and paths exist through the forest preserve does not indicate an intention to have more or better roads built. There are houses and settlements scattered all through and surrounded by the lands of the forest preserve, but no one would argue that the building of more houses and structures on the forest preserve is the proper way to forever keep it as wild forest lands.”