The more than 50-yearagreement between the Winnebago County Forest Preserve and the Severson Dells Education Foundation has helped provide education and access to nature to those in the area.

“Hope we can get to a functional place where we can continue to do the education programs, because that’s what our mission is,” said Director at Severson Dells Nature Center Ann Wasser.

Well, the goal is obviously to provide nature, to provide land, rest, rent, land preservation,” said President of the Forest Preserve of Winnebago County Jeff Tilly.

Severson dells hopes to build a new facility which in turn means a new agreement between the two sides must be reached. Back in March the Forest Preserve issued a termination letter, ending an agreement that had been in place since 2012.

“It’s been difficult at best. I think it started with the notice of termination instead of a discussion and doing it in a way that the public didn’t have the option, didn’t have the opportunity to weigh in,” Wasser said.

Under the prior agreement Severson Dells was staff was employed by the Forest Preserve.
Budget constraints were just one of the sticking points. Severson dells is hoping for a lease agreement instead of a similar partnership proposal.

“We developed a proposal last board meeting. We voted on it, we accepted it, and then we presented it to Severson. And now we’re just going to review their response and probably go forward with another counterproposal, so to speak,” Tilly said.

“School field trips, camps, guided hikes. Those will also continue. And it just is a matter of kind of the back end of things. So the things the public doesn’t see,” Wasser said.