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Improvement Projects


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 »

Ethel's Woods | Antioch

A 0.7-mile section of the Millennium Trial runs along the western edge of the preserve. Other public access improvements to the 500-acre preserve include toilets, a 0.8-mile gravel loop trail and four scenic overlooks. Future plans include a pedestrian tunnel under Route 45 to safely connect Ethel's Woods to Raven Glen Forest Preserve via the Millennium Trail.

Although preserve improvements are complete, restoration activities will continue for a few more years while we finalize our efforts to return the area to a natural landscape.

Background | Public Access Improvements

At their February 13, 2019, meeting, the Lake County Forest Preserve Board of Commissioners awarded a $824,522 contract to Campanella & Sons of Wadsworth to build trails and parking at the preserve.  
Major multi-year land restoration efforts included restructuring an earthen dam to slowly drain a man-made lake as well as ecological restoration of the historic North Mill Creek stream channel. Funding assistance for this restoration work was provided by a $1 million Clean Water Act grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Questions, comments, updates? Contact Project Manager Greg Walenter, 847-968-3274.

Fort Sheridan | Lake Forest

Great Lake Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Program

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), working through the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) program, is collaborating with the City of Lake Forest, Lake County Forest Preserves, Lake Forest Open Lands Association and Openlands on a large-scale coastal ecosystem restoration project at Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in Lake Forest, Illinois.

In phase I, extensive construction and restoration work was conducted to restore natural features, landscapes and species in the uplands, ravines and along the Lake Michigan lakeshore. The project extends from Lake Forest Open Lands Association property to the north and through Openlands property on the southern end. This work has been ongoing since 2017 and is nearing completion.

Phase II is being undertaken by the ACOE and the Lake County Forest Preserves. It consists of restoring nearshore habitat for aquatic species found in Lake Michigan.

  • Construction of underwater reefs along 1.5 miles of lakeshore is scheduled to occur July through October 2020.
  • The humanmade reefs will provide submerged habitat for fish and wildlife. They will also help stabilize the nearshore lakebed and coastline.
  • The reefs will be built from tree trunks and branches, root wads, limestone slabs, glacial erratic boulders, cobble and sand.
  • Cranes and other heavy equipment will install these materials from barges stationed off the lakeshore.
  • Brief, intermittent closures of the lakeshore may be required for certain stages of construction. Check our Interactive Trail Map for up-to-date information about the status of the lakeshore.

Once the restoration efforts above are complete, the ACOE and its contractor will conduct maintenance and adaptive management in these areas until 2025. This work includes monitoring and management of the reef structures and remediation if necessary.

Questions, comments, updates? Contact Jim Anderson, Director of Natural Resources, at 847-489-6180. You may also contact Vanessa Villarreal, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Officer, at 312-846-5330.

Lakewood | Wauconda

Lakewood Master Plan Approved

In January 2020, our Board of Commissioners approved a master plan for Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda. Engineering work begins this year, followed by construction in 2021. Want Progress Updates? Email Lakewood@LCFPD.org.

View Project Documents
Approved Master Plan »    Executive Summary » 
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Project Background

In 2018, we initiated the master planning process to evaluate existing conditions and uses of Lakewood. The plan identified potential recreation, education and conservation improvements for the preserve. Learn more »

Project Area
Acquired in 1968, Lakewood has 2,835 acres and is the largest forest preserve in Lake County. It contains a diverse mix of land uses, facilities and natural resources. When combined with adjacent 1,039-acre Ray Lake Forest Preserve, contiguous holdings in this area total 3,874 acres or over six square miles. Lakewood is located east of Wauconda and lies within parts of Wauconda and Fremont Townships. The preserve is intersected by Illinois Route 176, Ivanhoe Road and Fairfield Road.

Project Goals and Objectives 
The new master plan for Lakewood supports the methods and systems needed to reach our 100-Year Vision and Strategic Plan by providing leadership and sound conservation practices, and by promoting an active, healthy lifestyle for people of all abilities to enjoy.

  • Provide an improved public access and recreation experience that is ADA compliant, properly sized, accommodates future needs, and reduces short-term and long-term operating costs.
  • Provide a new, more efficient design that consolidates uses within a smaller footprint, supports educational programs and community events, and satisfies current and future public access needs.
  • Replace and/or renovate critical operational infrastructure.
  • Dedicate new areas for restoration consistent with natural resource goals.

Questions or Comments? Contact Director of Planning and Land Preservation Randy Seebach at 847-968-3262 or via email: Lakewood@LCFPD.org

Millennium Trail and Greenway

Learn about a preliminary engineering study for the construction of a pedestrian tunnel under U.S. Route 45 in Antioch to safely connect Raven Glen Forest Preserve to neighboring Ethel’s Woods Forest Preserve via our Millennium Trail.

View map »

Questions, comments, updates?  Contact Project Manager Jeff Sloot, 847-968-3277.

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