Plan C is a citizen-based initiative to provide an alternative to the ill-conceived Concept Plans A & B being advanced by the Lake County Forest Preserve District.
What is exceptionally appealing about Plan C is that it is the only option that has a proven track record of success. Plan C is close to the status quo of what the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve is today and has been for the last 3 years. And this has proven to be a very popular and huge success. Plan C builds on that success. It needs your support.
Plan C Supports Public Access & Grassland Habitat
Principal tenets of Plan C
- Retain the existing 80 car parking lot.
The existing hard-pack 80 car parking lot enables centralized walking access for the elderly, handicap and families with young children to the lake, southern ravines as well as the grassland trails. Citizen-collected data indicates that an 80-car parking lot meets the parking needs of the Preserve more than 90% of the time. LCFPD has no data on parking requirements. Their plans are based on guesses and political objectives.
- Maintain the grasslands.
The successful grasslands are home to nesting grassland birds, species whose numbers have diminished largely due to loss of habitat. Plan C also supports additional study prior to any consequential negative impact. Additionally the open space panoramic prairie view is one of the favorite features of the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve with visitors. All LCFPD data has been provided by citizen scientists. They have no data of their own on the success of this grassland.
- Plant trees along the western end of Fort Sheridan.
This will help deaden the traffic noise from Sheridan Road and block the visual sightline of buildings and traffic for those in the Preserve thereby improving the natural environment experience.
- Plant new trees in existing stands where trees are in decline.
Rejuvenate existing wooded areas that have been diminished through natural events and the absence of proactive management.
- Proceed with proposed Parade Ground enhancements.
Plan C supports both Concept A & B proposals to naturalize the perimeter of the historic Parade Grounds as well as to complete the walking trail loop
- Improve picnic area in the existing main parking lot.
Provide picnic areas near the parking and restroom facilities.
- Upgrade toilets in the existing main parking lot.
Replace existing portable toilets with evaporator type toilets and locate near existing main parking lot and near Cemetery parking lot.
- Add platform for Natural Viewing Area & Hawk Watch.
Build a permanent platform near the existing main parking lot in cooperation with the nascent Hawk Watch station.
- Add two additional litter stations for dogs.
Enhance dog management by adding on-leash signage and dog waste stations near the main parking lot and the Cemetery parking lot.
Plan C Addresses Management Issues
Plan C is also the only option that explicitly recognizes the problems that have emerged at the Preserve and need to be addressed. These include:
- Unauthorized entry to Lake Michigan along the non-swimming lakeshore
- Degradation of the bluff due to off-trail foot traffic
- Identification and preservation of plants of concern
Identification and Protection of Plants of Concern
The Preserve is fortunate to be host to several plants of concern. These plants and their habitats will be identified, cordoned off, labeled. Educational programming is proposed to draw attention to these plants and encourage their preservation and continued development consistent with the LCFPD 100-year Vision to restore the area to ecological health.
There are multiple bluff protection strategies that can be deployed individually or in combination. These include:
- Nature-scaping the bluff with shrubs that deter foot traffic,
- Signage at the bottom & top of the bluff identifying the threat to the bluff
- Physical restraints such as roping the area
Lakeshore management is a seasonal enforcement matter. Prominent signage, assessment of fines and periodic enforcement sweeps along the lakeshore at strategic times will send the message that this shoreline is not for public swimming.
Plan C Needs Your Active Support
Tell the Lake County Forest Preserve that your support Plan C by going to their website and submitting your comments on their form. It does NOT matter if you are a Lake County resident or not. Please share your opinion.
Tell them you support:
1. Retaining pubic access and the existing 80 car parking
2. Retaining the successful and popular grassland habitat