Notices and Alerts

COVID-19 Notices & Closures

While the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve remains open to the public daily from 6:30am to sunset, we have made some changes in response to COVID-19.  It is Openlands policy that all visitors practice social distancing of at least six feet. Gatherings are prohibited. It is required that people who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to COVID-19 not visit the Lakeshore Preserve. Visitors must wash hands before and after visiting and follow all other CDC guidelines.

The portable bathroom has been removed and the Lakefront and Bartlett Ravine stairs are closed. Openlands expects everyone to take their trash home: “Pack it in – Pack it out”.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a rapidly changing situation that Openlands continues to monitor closely. Please check the Openlands website for updates before any planned visits to the site, and share questions or information by emailing or calling 312-863-6250.

Shoreline Damage – Beach Closed Until Further Notice

Due to high water levels on Lake Michigan and ongoing storm damage, the beach area is closed south of the stairway near the base of Bartlett Ravine.

Seasonal Trail Closures

Openlands Lakeshore Preserve trails are closed when snow and/or ice is present.

Lakefront Artwork Installation

We have removed Lake Prism from the lakefront near Bartlett Ravine to prevent any damage to the installation. We will notify the public when it has been reinstalled.

Construction on Patten Road

Openlands is aware of ongoing construction along Patten Road, just north of roundabout at McKibbin Street. This construction is managed by the US Navy, and we do not have a timeline for when this project will be completed.

You can still access the Patten Road parking lot from the north.

Your Pets Can Affect the Lakefront Vegetation

A friendly reminder: the lakefront ecosystems at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve are home to state-endangered plant communities. As such, please remember that dogs are not allowed on the lakefront at any time — their ability to uproot plants puts the threatened species at risk. Leashed dogs are welcome on all paths within the preserve, and please pick up after them with the waste bags provided at stations along the trails.

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

Excavation and earth-moving operations are now complete, so restoration tasks are shifting 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.

Please be mindful of new plantings as you visit the Preserve, and we remind visitors that the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve is a protected Illinois Nature Preserve. As such, it is unlawful to pick, trim, or otherwise remove any plants from the preserve grounds.

If you need further assistance, please contact

Photo: Carol Freeman