Notices and Alerts

Bartlett Ravine Construction

Please be advised of the temporary closure of the two staircases into Bartlett Ravine from both from the Patten Road Parking Lot and the Hamill Family Foundation bluff-top trail. US Army Corps of Engineers is installing a mechanism to better control stormwater and prevent erosion, and we anticipate this project will be completed by late-June. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we complete this short-term construction project, and we will update this section when the project is complete.

Deer Ticks and Public Safety

We have been made aware by the Lake County Health Department that there is a substantial population of deer ticks at Fort Sheridan (adjacent to the Lakeshore Preserve) with a relatively high occurrence rate of Lyme disease in the tick population. Adult ticks are currently present in and around Fort Sheridan’s natural areas, but come mid-May through June extra vigilance is justified as that will be the season when nymphs will be out and they are extremely difficult to see, and are the life stage when most people contract Lyme and other diseases. Please note that the prescribed burning Openlands performs every spring helps to reduce the population of ticks as it removes the leaf litter and detritus they call home. Nevertheless, we ask visitors to be aware, remain on the pathways and away from the foliage, and perform bodily inspections after visiting the Lakeshore Preserve.

Van Horne Ravine Restoration Project

During the winter of 2017, Van Horne Ravine underwent a large 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 project was extremely successful and the bulk of the work was completed by March 2017. Despite much success, there are a few problematic areas remaining where the heavy spring rains took their toll. Due to this, work will continue on the ravine to address two remaining erosion areas where soil has slumped. Plant installation and prairie restoration on the land around and above the ravine will remain on schedule, and it will continue until late 2017/early 2018. We hope you join Openlands in its excitement about restoring 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 bulk of the work to date has focused on our partners land to the north. Over the late winter of 2017, frequent visitors have seen intermittent construction activity as the weather allowed. With heavy spring rains behind us, the contractor hopes to focus their efforts on the remaining work at the base of Bartlett Ravine and in Schenck Ravine. Unfortunately for visitors and neighbors, this means two things: noise from construction vehicles and unsightly conditions of bare soil are present at the Chandler Bridge over Schenck Ravine as well as at the base of Bartlett Ravine. Second, biking, jogging, and pedestrian use of the Bartlett Ravine Road will also be impacted for approximately 3-6 weeks beginning April 21, 2017. Please respect all posted construction signage for the safety of all involved, and we will update this page regularly. In the meantime, we thank you for your patience and understanding while the bulk of the heavy construction is underway.

Once excavation and earth-moving operations are complete, restoration tasks shift to planting and seeding of the ravines as well as the bluff. We hope that in a few years, the scars of regrading will be replaced with a much higher quality landscape comprised of native plants, shrubs, and trees.

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

Photo: Carol Freeman