It may not be the Grand Canyon, but the unspoiled waterfront and
ravine at the newly opened
Openlands Lakeshore Preserve just 25 miles north of Chicago is
breathtaking nonetheless, says Charles Mutscheller,
communications director for the preserve.
The preserve consists of two continuous miles of shoreline,
unspoiled by development, and one of the last remaining ravine and
bluff ecosystems in the area. Formerly part of the Ft. Sheridan
Army base, the land was donated to the forest preserve when the
base was decommissioned in 1994.
The preserve starts with a ravine. A paved road, built by the
Army decades ago, runs about ¾ mile and is easily navigated with
strollers. When you approach the end of the ravine, "the wind picks
up and you start hearing that there's nothing else out there and it
looks like an ocean. It's undeveloped. There's nothing around
there," says Jaime Zaplatosch, education director.
The preserve is a fun place to search for fossils-trilobites can
be seen in some of the large boulders-and explore for treasures
that wash up on the beach.
Because it's an undeveloped area, there are a few things
families should keep in mind before heading to the preserve. There
are no restrooms, not even port-a-potties, so make sure to stop
before coming out to hike. Also, this is a non-swimming area.
There's no parking at the preserve, so park on one of the
streets nearby or consider public transportation-the preserve is
about ¾ mile from Metra's Highwood exit. The trip from the train
station passes places to grab a bite to eat before or after
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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