Tag Archives: lake county forest preserve district

Video: Forest Preserve Intimidates, Threatens Arrest at Open House

Our group attended the LCFPD Fort Sheridan Open House at which we were physically blocked from entering the Open House, harassed &  intimidated and threatened with arrest and removal. We just wanted to provide the input they solicited. Watch the video of the entire episode.

These Are the Plan Options. These are the Only Plan Options.

It would appear that the Lake County Forest Preserve District under the direction of President Ann Maine has plans for the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve. And it doesn’t matter a damn what anybody thinks. Don’t kid yourself. They are absolutely committed to forcing their poorly conceived plans, called Concept A and Concept B on the public regardless of public sentiment. And the only public sentiment they want to hear is that which is legally required and nothing more.

We Really Don’t Want Your Stinkin Feedback

The Forest Preserve held a public open house on April 8. My invitation from Executive Director Ty Kovach told me that I was “invited to an Open House to learn about improvement plans for the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve and to provide feedback regarding the plans.” With the intent of providing constructive and effective feedback, our group thoughtfully prepared a comprehensive set of alternative options highlighting what we felt the County-sponsored plans were lacking. We spent hours talking to environmental experts. We talked to people who visited the Preserve. We assembled maps, a fact sheet and other documents to make our case and to share with others at this open house. And then we showed up at the Open House to share what we had learned.

“No Other Plans Allowed”

When we arrived with our material, we were all but tackled at the door by LCFPD staff. Our path was blocked. Our map was grabbed. We were told that “no other concept plans were allowed in the building.”  We pushed through this nonsense. Immediately the LCFPD Chief of Police was on us telling us to take our material out of the Open House.  I asked the Chief, “I cannot present my plans? And the Chief responded “You cannot.” In the course of further discussion the Chief threatened to call the Highwood police and have me removed from the Open House. Some Open House.

Stay Out of Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve

Incongruous as it seems, LCFPD does not want people to come to the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve. They don’t want people to walk along the magnificent bluff. They don’t want people on the Lakeshore. In a direct quote from a top staffer, “Go to Illinois State Beach if you want to see Lake Michigan.” Really?

Just Say No to the Forest Preserve

Reject the LCFPD thoughtless Concept Plans. Reject their “not welcome here” attitude. We have a better idea. We call it Plan C. As soon as we recover from the trauma of the Open House we’ll share it with you.

Voice Your Opinion

Please tell the Forest Preserve that you want public access at Fort Sheridan. Tell them that you want to preserve the successful grassland prairie. Do it now and do it here.

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The Fort Sheridan Preserve Hypocrisy

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve Parking
100 parking spaces and a clubhouse on the bluff were approved for a golf course. But for a natural preserve? No parking or maybe 20 spaces.

Take a step back from the current controversy and observe the hypocrisy of the Forest Board regarding the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve.

The picture at right is the plan originally proposed by the Lake County Forest Preserve for a 100 car parking lot and clubhouse on the bluff. It was ok then. Today, not ok.

No Trees. Approved.

The existing and approved Master Plan for Fort Sheridan calls for a golf course. This golf course would have taken over the entire greater expanse of the area we now call the grassland. It would have also spilled over to the Parade Ground with 4 golf holes surrounded by residences. Planting trees? Not on these fairways. That’s the plan. But wait, there’s more.

Club House on the Bluff. Approved.

This wasn’t going to be just some 3 par golf course to knock the ball around. This was going to be a Championship Golf Course with a Club House – on the Bluff overlooking that Great Lake. This was going to be Big Time with Golf Outings and maybe even Professional Tournaments. And, until golf revenues went south, this was the Plan. It was approved by your Lake County Forest Preserve. They were ALL IN.

100 Car Parking Lot. Approved.

A shot-gun start at a Championship Golf Course would put 18 foursomes on the course. That’s 72 people playing golf. Plus caddys and Club House Staff. And every 15 minutes a new foursome Tees off. Popular every spring, summer and fall weekend, that parking lot adjacent to the Club House on the Bluff of Lake Michigan would have to hold what? 125 cars? 150 cars? Probably. And the County approved this. They were ALL IN.

Street Parking? Approved.

And when the Tournaments were held, in addition to all the celebrities, there would be the spectators. And where would they park? They’d park along Leonard Drive and anywhere else they could squeeze a car. And the residents of the Town of Fort Sheridan subdivision were ALL IN with this plan.

Fast forward to today and what do we have? That same Forest Board that was prepared to surrender the Preserve to a golf course and surrender the Lake Michigan bluff to a club house and build a large parking lot wants to reduce parking to just 20 cars near the bluff. Board president Ann Maine worries that we will suffocate this Preserve with overuse when, in fact, the County was prepared to plow it into sand traps and plant water-demanding turf grass instead of self-sustaining indigenous prairie grasses. Talk about suffocating!

Hypocritical Public Policy

So I just want it to be noted that what was already approved and acceptable is now not acceptable. And the only thing that has changed is that instead of making a lot of money running a golf course, which the Lake County Forest Preserve was perfectly happy to do, they have to provide public access and basic sanitary services. And for that they are balking. Just say no to toilets.

Golf on the “historic” Parade Ground? Approved.

And one more footnote to this rant. I have always been less concerned about the Parade Ground section of the Forest Preserve. I sincerely believe that the residents of the Town of Fort Sheridan subdivision have a strong investment in both the maintenance and appearance of this property that is circumscribed by their homes and their wishes in this area should be respected. But at one point this, too, was going to be part of the golf course.

Today there are modest plans to reduce grass cutting by planting trees and shrubs at the edges of the Parade Ground. When I inquired about why the entire Parade Ground couldn’t be landscaped for more economical maintenance I was told, with a straight face, that the County wants to “respect the historic nature of the Parade Ground.” Really? What about that Championship Golf Course for which they were prepared to completely plow up the Parade Ground? Oh, that.

So when the LCFPD says that the proposed Master Plan is to prevent us from destroying the Fort Sheridan habitat you really have to ask, but isn’t that what THEY were planning to do with their misbegotten golf course? Evidently what was OK then, is not OK now. Hypocrisy.