Public Access Project Set to Begin at Ethel's Woods Forest Preserve
Lake County residents are one step closer to being able to experience the breathtaking beauty of Ethel’s Woods Forest Preserve. At their February 13 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 starting this spring.
Planned public access improvements to the 500-acre preserve will include an entrance drive from Miller Road, a 25-car parking lot, toilets, a 0.7-mile gravel loop trail and three scenic overlooks. A 0.7-mile section of the Millennium Trail will run along the western edge of the preserve. Weather permitting, these improvements are expected to be completed and open to the public in early summer 2019.
Located in Antioch Township, Ethel’s Woods currently does not have public access as it undergoes a major multi-year land restoration effort, which includes 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.
“We are particularly excited to begin construction of this trail and public access project because the preserve is named in honor of Ethel Untermyer, the woman whose grassroots efforts helped create the Lake County Forest Preserve District in 1958,” said Forest Preserve President Ann Maine. “I think Ethel would be pleased to see us continue to realize her vision of protecting large natural spaces and making them accessible to the people of Lake County.”
About Ethel’s Woods Forest Preserve
Ethel's Woods is located south of Route 173 between Route 45 and Crawford Road in Antioch Township. Along the eastern edge of the preserve is 170 acres of century-old bur oak, white oak, shagbark hickory and black walnut trees.
Scattered throughout the site's woodlands are small, isolated forest ponds that hold water in the spring and early fall. These ponds, along with two wetlands that border the Old Mill Creek stream corridor, and several creeks, provide valuable wildlife habitat and food sources for a variety of birds, mammals and reptiles.
The site’s strategic location to neighboring Raven Glen Forest Preserve offers a direct linkage creating a large, contiguous land holding. Large preserves such as this provide a natural greenway corridor for better land management, wildlife protection and expanded outdoor recreation opportunities.
In 2001, the Forest Preserve Board passed a resolution to name a preserve in tribute to Ethel Untermyer, who directed the successful referendum campaign in 1958 that formed the Lake County Forest Preserve District. Ethel took action to fulfill the request of her 3-year-old son, Frank, who wanted a place to play in the woods.
About the Lake County Forest Preserves District
As principal guardian of Lake County’s open space and natural areas since 1958, the District manages nearly 31,000 acres of land and offers innovative educational, recreational and cultural opportunities for all people.Visitors of all ages can enjoy over 203 miles of trails for a variety of outdoor recreation uses, ponds and lakes for fishing, public golf courses, historical and cultural venues, public access to Lake Michigan and the Fox River, and award-winning nature and history education programs and events.
Facilities of special interest include Independence Grove in Libertyville, Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods, Dunn Museum (opens March 24) in Libertyville and ThunderHawk Golf Club in Beach Park.
Additional Information: Call 847-367-6640 and request a free copy of the Horizons quarterly newsletter.