Fort Sheridan Gets Nature Preserve

August 1, 2006

Part of Fort Sheridan, in the north suburbs, is going to become the site of a new nature preserve. The Navy this morning is expected to sign some land over to a conservation group.

The new preserve will stretch along more than a mile of Lake Michigan's shoreline near the city of Highwood. It will include ravines, bluffs and a sandy beach.

U.S. Representative Mark Kirk won congressional approval to transfer the shoreline to a group called Openlands.

"These bluffs are unique because Illinois has developed nearly all of the rest of the shoreline and most of it does not allow for public access. So this is going to be an entirely new habitat in its natural state, and open to the public," he says.

Openlands plans to restore the habitat and shore up areas that are eroding. It also will develop rustic trails and scenic overlooks.

Officials say a military landfill on part of the property is capped and safe.