Notices and Alerts

Portions of the Preserve that have been closed this year due to storm damage and COVID-19 will re-open on Sunday, May 31, 2020 with restrictions. Please be aware and follow the below rules and guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable time at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve:

  • Starting May 31, all three entrances and parking areas, the two staircases, the trails, and the lakefront will be open from dawn to dusk, daily (Trail Map).
  • Throughout the Preserve, to maintain progress in overcoming COVID-19, it is Openlands policy that all visitors must maintain social distancing, wear a mask when social distancing cannot be maintained, and limit groups to 10 or fewer.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times. Dogs are prohibited from the lakefront at all times.
  • Swimming and wading are prohibited.
  • Stay on paved path at all times unless in beach area.
  • The lakefront can be accessed ONLY from the Main and West Entrances. There is NO allowed access to the lakefront from the South Entrance or bluff trail.
  • Use caution on broken pavement damaged by storms at the lakefront.
  • Visitors must wash hands before and after visiting. Plan ahead and bring a bottle of water and soap or hand sanitizer.
  • Visitors must stay home if they are sick or feeling any symptoms, such as fever, coughing, or trouble breathing.
  • If crowds are forming, visitors must move to another area or return another time to visit.
  • Visitors must follow all other guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and State of Illinois.
  • 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. If you should have any questions or information about the preserve, please contact us by emailing info@openlands.org or calling 312-863-6250.


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.


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 chicagodistrict.pao@usace.army.mil.

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. Stay on paved areas when not walking along the lakefront.

If you need further assistance, please contact lakeshorepreserve@openlands.org.

Photo: Carol Freeman