Beach at Fort Sheridan open for first time in a century
Beginning Sunday 13, the beach at Fort Sheridan (a historic military installation about 25 miles north of Chicago that played a part in everything from the Pullman Strike to servicing Nike missiles during the Cold War—closed since 1990) will become publicly accessible shoreline for the first time in over 100 years. Openlands—a northeastern Illinois organization that buys natural spaces and transforms them into public parks—took control of the 77-acre donation in 2006. The land was given to the public by the U.S. Navy in 2004, with the help of U.S. Rep. Mark S. Kirk, R-10th, of Highland Park. The soon-to-be christened Openlands Lakeshore Preserve will open its mile-long beach and ravine to walking, exploring, and beach combing, but—boohoo—no swimming.
On the bright side, "because the military had it, there's been little human impact," says Openlands' Charles Mutscheller. "The shoreline is intact." To restore the property, Openlands spent millions of dollars clearing out invasive species, hydro-mulching with native seeds, and performing controlled burns to clear out harmful plants.
To enjoy 150 native plants and great bird watching, park near the corner of Lyster Road at Westover Road, in Highland Park, and walk east along the path to Bartlett Ravine. A ribbon-cutting ceremony with kids' activities takes place Sunday 13 at 2pm.