The Openlands Lakeshore Preserve at Ft. Sheridan was the first-ever land acquisition undertaken by the conservation organization in its 51 year history to protect a swath of rare and picturesque bluff and ravine habitat found nowhere else in the state of Illinois.
In 2004, Openlands commissioned Conservation Design Forum to do a feasibility study to: 1. evaluate the property's ecological value and condition 2. formulate a vision for its most beneficial usage 3. specify the ecological restoration and long-term stewardship implications, including costs 4. identify priorities and an overall timeframe
As an ecological and geological treasure, the Fort Sheridan Lakefront Preserve Action Plan advised that the Preserve develop programming to include educational opportunities and activities that would expand scientific knowledge and create a greater awareness and appreciation.
With the framework in place to guide the project forward, Openlands took ownership of the 77-acre parcel at a signing ceremony on August 1, 2006. Since that time, a significant portion of the restoration work has been performed to successfully conserve and enhance this last remaining one-mile stretch of authentic Lake Michigan shoreline in Illinois.
In 2013, the area was designated as an Illinois Nature Preserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, protecting it in perpetuity.
location: Fort Sheridan, Illinois
awards: ILASLA Merit Award, 2014
Native Landscape Systems
Remnant Landscape Restoration
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