Lake County, Illinois

Lake County is home to the richest diversity of native species in the state and it supports more state-threatened and -endangered species than any other Illinois county. It is also indicative of our regional landscapes, sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan at the crossroads of the deciduous forests to the east and the great prairies to the west.

Openlands has a long history of working in Lake County on significant projects that protect the land and engage people in conservation. These include creating and managing the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve in Fort Sheridan that opened one mile of Lake Michigan shoreline to public access. We have advised on projects including the Route 53 expansion, farmland protection, the Liberty Prairie Reserve, and a successful 2008 referendum allowing the Lake County Forest Preserve District’s purchase of 3,000+ acres.

Today, we collaborate with many partners and communities to strike a sensible balance between the complex needs growing of communities while maintaining and enhancing the county’s rich natural and agricultural heritage.

We encourage you to explore some of Lake County’s phenomenal natural areas.


Through the Conservation@Home program, Openlands offers a free, one-hour, no-obligation ecological landscape consultation to help Lake County land owners identify ways to care for the land they love.

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.

Conserve Lake County Has Merged Into Openlands

Following years of successful collaboration with each other that benefited Lake County, the local conservation organization Conserve Lake County has merged into Openlands, a regional organization that is nationally recognized as a land conservation leader and defender of nature in the region since 1963.