Land and Water

The open spaces of the Midwestern landscape have always been crucial to the quality of life in our region. The Chicago Wilderness Region boasts many different and superb ways for people to be connected with nature. Openlands believes these spaces ought to be protected and enjoyed by all.

Photo: DJ Glisson

Openlands Lakeshore Preserve

Visit the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve about 25 miles north of Chicago in Lake County, free to the public and open everyday.

Land Conservation

From establishing city parks to stewarding large-scale landscapes in McHenry, Will, and Grundy counties, Openlands values the land and we work with partners across northeastern Illinois to protect open space permanently.

Water Conservation

Through innovative programs and partnerships, Openlands connects communities and government agencies to build and maintain innovative green infrastructure to manage stormwater in flood-prone metropolitan areas.

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge

Located an hour’s drive from the 12 million residents of the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, and Rockford, the newly-designated Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge is the first such refuge within 100 miles of Chicago.

Liberty Prairie Reserve

The Liberty Prairie Reserve consists of approximately 6,000 acres of conserved lands, sustainable farmland, and recreational trails in the heart of Lake County, Illinois.

Land and Water Trails

Utilizing trails is the easiest way to enjoy our region’s natural landscape. Find peace and solitude or share an experience with family and friends while you run, bike, or hike in natural serenity!

Restoration Sites

Openlands is leading a series of restorations across the Des Plaines River Watershed that are undertaken in conjunction with the Chicago District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Chicago’s Lakefront

The Northwest Indiana Regional Greenways and Blueways Plan presents a comprehensive vision for land and water corridors, or greenways and blueways, in forty-one municipalities throughout Indiana’s Lake, Porter, and La Porte counties.