Notices and Alerts

Winter 2017 Trail Closures at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve

Please note that the Hamill Family Upland Trail, Beach Trail, and ravine and bluff staircases are closed in the winter when snow or ice is present on the trail or stair surface.  The Bartlett Ravine Trail will remain open.


Van Horne Ravine Restoration Project

During the winter of 2017, Van Horne Ravine will undergo a separate restoration project to address erosion and stormwater issues within the ravine via the introduction of step pools, log dams, in-stream log and cobble riffles. The bulk of this work will be complete by Spring 2017, while plant installation and prairie restoration on the land around and above the ravine will continue until late 2017, and even the winter of 2018. We hope you join Openlands in its excitement about restoring and preserving the beautiful scenery and special ravine ecosystems found at the southern end Lake Michigan.

Overland Pipe to U.S. Navy Pump Station

Over the summer of 2016, the U.S. Navy notified Openlands that a pipe had burst. Repair efforts took longer than expected, resulting in unsightly mowing to the prairie next to the Hamill Family Upland Trail south of the stairway access to the beach, as well as an open hole. A temporary pipe has been installed by the U.S. Navy above ground which runs down the slope to the pump station. It is our hope that the prairie that was mowed to perform the repairs will grow back and the pipe will be removed in the next few years once the pump station at the base of the bluff has been decommissioned by the U.S. Navy.

Schenck Ravine and Lakefront Beach Restoration Update

Over the next four years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue an important ecological restoration project of Schenck Ravine and the lakefront beach bluff at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve. Questions or comments regarding the project should be directed to the Corps by phone at 312.846.5330 or by email at

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent much of winter 2015-16 clearing invasive tree species from Schenck Ravine and the Lakeshore Preserve bluff. Spring 2017 efforts will include installation of specialized walls to reduce erosion and sedimentation transfer into the lake, as well as to create new step pools to allow native fish species to navigate into the ravine for habitat purposes. Once earthwork operations are complete, planting and landscape restoration work to support a diverse composition of native trees, grasses, and wildflowers as well as providing habitat and food for resident wildlife and birds will follow. Please note that as part of this restoration, the Forest Preserve District of Lake County has temporarily closed the beach portion of its property immediately north of the Lakeshore Preserve.

Trail Connection

The bluff-top Hamill Family Upland Trail is bifurcated by the landfill owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the U.S. Army and ending abruptly at the north and south sides of the chain link fence surrounding the landfill. In the past, trail users have crossed the landfill by using the grass paths maintained by the Army. The Army has made the decision to fence in the landfill, and as a result, this area will be inaccessible to trail users. Openlands is working both independently and with the Navy to provide a solution to connect the north and south portions of the Hamill Family Trail.

If you need further assistance, please contact Openlands at

Photo: Carol Freeman