In addition to its 6 nature preserves Lake Forest Open Lands also oversees the care and maintenance of over 200 acres of City of Lake Forest property and over 260 acres under conservation easement. These lands are managed as natural areas and provide important habitat as well as community benefits such as floodwater reduction.

McCormick Ravine:  This past September, the City of Lake Forest and Lake Forest Open Lands agreed to a historic land preservation deal that will permanently protect and restore one of the most remarkable natural treasures within our community and northeastern Illinois — McCormick Ravine, a 61-acre parcel with 600 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline. With the required match funding generously donated by a Lake Forest Open Lands’ member, we were able to take advantage of a one-time opportunity to secure $3.5 million in funding to restore McCormick Ravine through the federal Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) Project. McCormick’s ecological restoration is part of a larger $15 million Fort Sheridan GLFER project that impacts approximately 40 acres of bluff and 1.5 miles of lake and dune habitat along Lake Michigan’s northeastern coastline. This project will be implemented by the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and overseen by the City of Lake Forest and Lake Forest Open Lands. The construction phase of this restoration will likely begin in winter of 2016. Once the construction portion is complete, the planting of native species will commence along with new trails and infrastructure so members and residents can enjoy this new preserve. This is not only an exciting preservation milestone for McCormick Ravine, but for our community as well! Click here to see answers to some common questions about the McCormick Ravine restoration project.

Deerpath Farm:  The 140-acre conservation easement of Deerpath Farm is the largest held by Lake Forest Open Lands and is a true Lake County gem. For many years this land was a working dairy farm and country retreat for the family of Edward Bennett, who co-authored the 1909 Plan of Chicago with Daniel Burnham. The family’s long-standing appreciation for Deerpath Farm’s natural beauty and its heritage for civic planning inspired this spectacular conservation community.

Volunteers at work restoring the North Shore Bike Path across from Lake Forest High School



North Shore Bike Path:  The 20-acre North Shore Prairie that runs alongside the North Shore bicycle path between Old Elm Road and Illinois Road. This is a relic prairie complex with many beautiful forbs and grasses.