Grassy Lakes Forest Preserve
Grassy Lake Forest Preserve Overlook
Lake Barrington, Illinois
The Lake County Forest Preserves has begun a large-scale restoration program of Grassy Lake Forest Preserve, 65 acres of gently rollings hills, oak woodlands, marshes, and moraines along the Fox River. The land will be returned to its original savanna ecosystem and become a valuable resource to engage and educate visitors about the natural landscape and Native American history in the region. Grassy Lake's most prominent feature is a kame (a geomorphological feature composed of sand, gravel, and till that accumulates in a depression of a retreating glacier) that is the highest point on the site and offers miles of uninterrupted 270-degree views of the broad river valley below. To enhance this experience, we delicately placed an overlook atop the kame that acts as an extension of the main walking path. The overlook widens the trail with a frayed platform of permeable pavers and two planes of Corten weathering steel that, like the landscape, are also gradually returning to a natural state. Visitors descend a gently sloping path between the cantilevered planes and are projected outward—out of the tree canopy, off the ground, into the air—to the viewing platform and the dramatic views beyond.
Area/Budget: NA / $375,000
Scope: conceptual design for overlook and visitor station at Grassy Lake Forest Preserve
Project Team: David Woodhouse, Ed Blumer (project architect)
Lake County Forest Preserves (landscape); WB Olson (cost)