Winnebago and Boone County Greenways Plan

Purpose Of Greenways

To promote a regional greenway network that protects natural, cultural, and scenic resources; provides recreational benefits; enhances natural beauty; improves environmental quality; and stimulates economic development.


To provide a comprehensive regional planning tool for government agencies and others involved in land use planning, natural areas preservation, transportation and recreation. To coordinate transportation planning with the greenways planning process. To reduce conflicts with development activities and offset the negative and costly impacts of urban sprawl.


Increases the level of understanding regarding the importance and value of greenways and encourages stewardship of natural and cultural resources.

Natural Area Protection
Provides a resource for community leaders, organizations, and individuals making decisions about which natural areas should be protected.

Identifies the high quality outdoor recreational resources that define the character of the region.

Government Coordination
Provides a means by which the numerous government agencies in the two counties can coordinate their efforts in regard to greenway protection. This allows for a continuing forum for discussion among governmental jurisdictions and the private sector. This also coordinates land acquisition plans among government agencies and assists these agencies in allocating resources for natural areas and trails.

Growth Management
Provides a tool to help communities guide growth and development away from valuable natural resources and toward existing infrastructure.

Economic Development
Promotes natural and outdoor recreation areas improve our quality of life, help retain our current populace, and attract others who desire to live in an area with high-quality outdoor recreational pursuits.

Wildlife Protection
Promotes corridors along waterways that create an interconnected network of greenways that supports wildlife habitats and maintains ecological processes. Plants and animals must be able to move around in order to survive. Greenways provide that connection.

Environmental Quality
Encourage greenway protection that will reduce flood damage, improve water quality, and provide areas that can recharge underground aquifers.

Participating Agencies

Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning

Boone County Soil & Water Conservation District

Boone County Conservation District

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Rockford Park District

Belvidere Park District

Winnebago County Soil & Water Conservation District


Natural Land Institute