Forest Park

Forest Park is the crown jewel in Lake Forest's extensive park system. Its location on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, where the forest meets the lake, gave the city its name. The park was established in 1856 "as a natural resource for passive enjoyment” as a part of the Almerin Hotchkiss city design plan and is Lake Forest’s first conserved open space. In 1896, Lake Forest commissioned landscape gardener, O. C. Simonds, to develop a plan for the park.

Honoring the legacy of the original 19th Century work of Hotchkiss and Simonds, Stephen Stimson developed a comprehensive plan for the restoration and preservation of this public park. The plan was made possible and implemented with a public-private partnership between the City and the independent Forest Park Project Board and completed June 14, 2015.

Since 2015 the Forest Park Preservation Board, a 501(c)(3), has raised private funds to support the continued maintenance and management of the park. Community contributions are indispensable in helping the Preservation Board assist the City in maintaining the park and 100% of funds raised go directly to park preservation. Horticultural experts provide direction based on the landscape plan to add native trees, shrubs and perennials as needed. The Natural Areas Management Plan guides preservation and maintenance of native vegetation for the coastal bluff and ravines.

In November each year, an appeal letter is mailed to every residence in Lake Forest with a request for a donation to help steward the park. You can make a difference with a gift that will preserve and protect Forest Park for future generations. 2023 Fundraising Letter

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