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Openlands Gifts Lake Michigan Coastline Gem Along with Restoration Endowment

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2000s-2023

Openlands Lakeshore Preserve
Southeastern Lake County, IL

Partnering for greater impact

Protecting important landscapes

Delivering technical expertise in ecology and restoration

Openlands donated the 72-acre Openlands Lakeshore Preserve to the Lake County Forest Preserves in August 2023. This geographically and ecologically important landscape is now part of the adjacent Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in southeastern Lake County. The Openlands Lakeshore Preserve features 1 mile of Lake Michigan shoreline, three beautifully restored ravines, blufftops, accessible trails, overlooks, and art installations. Openlands had assumed ownership of this parcel, formerly part of the Fort Sheridan Army Base, in the early 2000s, and carried out extensive restoration of ecologically sensitive ravine and blufftop habitats, installed bridges and staircases, built accessible trails, and led nature-based education programming. As part of the transfer, Openlands also donated approximately $1.3 million for the ongoing conservation and habitat restoration of the property to the Preservation Foundation, the charitable partner of the Forest Preserves. The Lake County Forest Preserves has been a valuable and long-standing partner of Openlands. The transfer of the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve was the third time in 18 months that Openlands transferred land to another qualifying entity in Lake County, totaling 133 acres. The Openlands Lakeshore Preserve is now managed by the Lake County Forest Preserves and a full master planning process to incorporate the new property as part of the greater Fort Sheridan experience is forthcoming.

“Openlands did a wonderful job creating accessible trails through the sensitive ravine and blufftop habitats, installing bridges and staircases and did exceptional restoration work. We look forward to building on their investments in the site and to incorporating the new acreage into the Fort Sheridan experience.”

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