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Improvement Projects

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve | Lake Forest

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Fish and Ecosystem Restoration Program

The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), working through the Great Lakes Fish and Ecosystem Restoration program (GLFER), is collaborating with the City of Lake Forest, Lake County Forest Preserves, Lake Forest Open Lands, and Openlands on a large-scale coastal ecosystem restoration project.

Extensive construction and restoration work will be conducted in the uplands, ravines and along the Lake Michigan lakeshore. The project will extend from Lake Forest Open Lands property to the north of Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve and south through the Openlands property. During the course of the project, closures of preserve sections and lakeshore will be required for public safety.

Obey Construction Signage

For your safety, during times of construction and closures please use caution, follow detours and obey all posted closure signs and fencing.

Project Schedule and Construction Details

  • Construction within McCormick and Janes Ravines and along the lakeshore has begun. This work requires complete closure of lakefront access at Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve, now through June 2017. 
  • Habitat restoration has begun within the uplands and ravines. This work will continue through June 2016, and will require brief, intermittent closures only during times of restoration activity. Watch for signs from the contractor and the Lake County Forest Preserves identifying the closed areas.
  • From late 2017 through 2018, work will occur on in-water structures. Closures may be required. 

After the restoration efforts above are completed, ACOE and its contractor will conduct maintenance and adaptive management in these areas until 2021. This work will include the management of invasive species, and may require brief closures of preserve sections.

Questions, comments, updates?

Call or email U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager, Carsten Western, 312-846-5330.

Master Plan Process Complete

At their November 10, 2015 meeting, the Board of Commissioners approved the Final Master Plan for public access improvements and habitat restoration at Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve. Questions or comments? Send us an email.

Project Background

In March 2015, the Planning and Restoration Committee reviewed two concept plans that explored a wide range of ideas for public access and natural resource restoration improvements at Fort Sheridan. After extensive review and discussion, the Committee authorized staff to schedule the second Public Open House and offer the public an opportunity to view and provide input on the Concept Plans. Approximately 240 people attended the Open House on April 8, 2015. Learn more »

In addition to the comments received from the Open House, staff and Commissioners continued to receive written comments via multiple written communication methods including an online forum, emails and letters. More than 500 public comments were received in response to the Concept Plans that were presented in March. All comments were compiled into a Public Involvement Booklet, which was distributed to the Committee on July 6, 2015.

During the past few months, additional data on visitor and parking lot use patterns at Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve was collected to assist staff with the development of a revised concept plan. After a thorough review of the additional survey data and comments received from the public, Commissioners, staff and community partners, a revised concept plan was prepared that best represents the core mission of the Lake County Forest Preserves and is consistent with the agency's Vision and Strategic Plan.

Off-Leash Dog Parks

Planned Improvements

If dogs could talk they would no doubt tell us they love living in Lake County. What’s not to love, with four great dog exercise areas and a new one on the way? Good news for our lucky canines is that these romping grounds will get even better over the next several years. Learn more »

In 2014, we conducted a public online survey to find out what features people would like in a new off-leash dog area opening at Waukegan Savanna Forest Preserve. Your comments helped shape the design features for the new dog area. They also guided improvement plans underway for our four existing off-leash dog areas. By incorporating your feedback, studying the latest national dog park design trends and complying with the ADA 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, there are great things in store for dogs and their owners.

News, updates and closure information related to these projects will be added here as it becomes available. Updates also will be emailed to dog permit holders and to anyone requesting construction news. 

Questions or comments? Call or email Preserve Planner II, Greg Walenter, 847-968-3274.

Waukegan Savanna Dog Park | Waukegan

Canines will soon have another 11-acre off-leash dog area in northeast Lake County where they can exercise, play and socialize. Located within Waukegan Savanna, the entrance to the new dog area will be at the northeast corner of Delany and Yorkhouse Roads. Learn more »

Preliminary plans for the new off-leash dog area include:

  • shade shelters
  • a separate enclosed area for dogs less than 25 pounds
  • a 60-car parking lot
  • toilet and drinking water for dogs and people.
  • the dog area is the first phase to be implemented in the Conceptual Master Plan for Waukegan Savanna.

Schedule: Construction is anticipated to begin late spring 2017. 

Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve | Long Grove

Reservoir Expansion & Preserve Improvements

The Lake County Forest Preserve District, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) and the Village of Buffalo Grove are collaborating to reduce flooding and provide additional public access improvements at Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve near Long Grove and Buffalo Grove. When complete, properties downstream of the preserve near Lake Cook Road and Arlington Heights Road will see additional flood relief as a result of the project. Visitors of the preserve will enjoy 1.2 miles of additional trails that will provide two new loops east of Schaeffer Road, seven new boardwalks, two scenic overlooks and a 30-car expansion of the existing parking lot. Approximately a half-mile of the existing trail in a flood prone area will be relocated to higher ground to increase accessibility for longer periods and reduce long-term maintenance costs. Nineteen acres of new wetlands and 35 acres of prairie/savanna will be added as part of the restoration of the basin. Plans are expected to be complete in spring 2017 with an anticipated construction start of early summer 2017.

Questions or comments? Call MWRD at 312-751-3247.

Lyons Woods Forest Preserve | Waukegan

Trail Extension to Green Bay Road

The Lake County Forest Preserve District, City of Waukegan, Waukegan Park District, and the Village of Beach Park have partnered to plan and implement a 2.3-mile long multi-use asphalt trail. The trail will connect the Robert McClory Bike Path at Lyons Woods Forest Preserve to the Green Bay Road right-of-way. The proposed trail will travel through the existing ComEd utility corridor and pass through Bevier Park and Callahan Park. This 2.3-mile trail is the first phase of a longer 6.9-mile regional trail that will continue west through Waukegan Savanna Forest Preserve, eventually connecting to the Des Plaines River Trail at Sedge Meadow Forest Preserve.

The project received federal funding assistance through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Transportation Alternatives Grant Program administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Questions or comments? Call or email Project Manager, Greg Walenter, 847-968-3274.

Schedule: Construction is anticipated to begin spring 2017.

We are working on projects and plans that will help create new trails and improve public access and natural resource restoration at preserves throughout Lake County. Check closure and construction status »

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