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Experts Convene at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve to Support Investigation

For three days in early December, experts from five states convened at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve in Highland Park to conduct field work on a portion of the site in support of the investigation that stemmed from the discovery of explosives during the spring of 2021.

In support of Openlands, the Navy awarded a contract to Tetra Tech on September 24, 2021 to study the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve to address concerns to public health and safety. The Tetra Tech team will review the findings of the site investigation as well as historical documents to determine a recommended path forward. 

The results of the study will allow for recommendations regarding the need for any further action, if any, and will also allow Openlands to make informed decisions regarding steps needed to re-open the Preserve. Public access and ecological management have been restricted since April 2021 due to the presence of military artifacts that were found on the property.  

Openlands Lakeshore Preserve is located on the former Fort Sheridan, adjacent to Navy housing, with shoreline and bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. The former Army post was closed in 1993 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process and a portion of the former installation was transferred to Openlands and converted to a nature preserve in 2007.  

Naval Station Great Lakes, the City of Highland Park, Lake County, and Openlands have been hosting a weekly subject matter expert and leadership meeting to discuss efforts underway to support the return of public access and land management to Openlands Lakeshore Preserve. The team is committed to addressing concerns to return the preserve to its intended purpose as a nature preserve for the public’s enjoyment and ask all to respect the closure while work is completed.