Liberty Prairie Reserve

The Liberty Prairie Reserve consists of approximately 5,000 acres in the heart of Lake County between Libertyville, Grayslake, Gurnee, and Waukegan. Through cooperative efforts, nearly 3,400 acres of publicly and privately owned open land within the Reserve
have been legally protected.

In 2012-13, a group of public and nongovernmental organizations gathered to document progress from the original 1991 Reserve Master Plan and make recommendations for the next 20 years. The intent of this effort was to establish a model of exceptional land, water, and biodiversity health where public and private landowners manage their land in ways that sustain people, plants, and wildlife.

This plan envisions people restoring, enhancing, and enjoying the Reserve's rich
array of natural areas. Additionally, the Reserve's agricultural values and heritage
will be celebrated and continued in ways that support clean water, healthy soils,
and diverse agricultural products and foods. The Master Plan includes detailed
recommendations to:

  • Expand core habitats.
  • Support ecological management and restoration.
  • Preserve more open space.
  • Transition agriculture to sustainable and "biologically-based" practices.
  • Improve public access and movement through and around the Reserve.
  • Establish a Planning Council for Stakeholders 

FINAL Summary of Liberty Prairie Reserve Master Plan (Released June, 2013)

FINAL Liberty Prairie Reserve Master Plan (Released June, 2013)

The Planning Team for the Liberty Prairie Reserve Master Plan included Conserve Lake County; the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP); Lake County Forest Preserve District; the Lake County Departments of Planning, Transportation, and Stormwater Management; the Liberty Prairie Foundation; Libertyville Township; the Illinois Department of Natural Resources; the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission; and Openlands. Several private landowners were consulted and represented throughout the process.

What is the Liberty Prairie Reserve?


The Liberty Prairie Reserve is one of Lake County's special places. It is a beautiful blend of our rural heritage, a place of rolling hills with woodlands, farmland, prairies, and a pristine brook. View Map

What's unique about the Liberty Prairie Reserve is the story of how private landowners, public entities, and private conservation organizations came together to save the heritage of this land. The Reserve encompasses approximately 5000 acres  where more than 3,400 acres of natural areas and farmland have been preserved. It is the blending of private land with public open space, a place vital for wildlife habitat as well as a place for people to enjoy.

Conserve Lake County's roots are in the Liberty Prairie Reserve. Our organization started in 1995 as the Liberty Prairie Conservancy as a way to defend, expand, and steward this priceless piece of Lake County. Today, the Liberty Prairie Reserve remains a very important part of what we do. We continue to work with a community of partners to meet the goals of the Liberty Prairei Reserve Master Plan to preserve more of it's landscapes, restore woodlands, wetlands, and prairies. and improve farming practices that affect the health of our land and water.

lpr-cranesLiberty Prairie Reserve Community

The Liberty Priarie Reserve is a community of private landowners, public entities, conservation-oriented businesses, and non-profit organizations like the Conserve Lake County. 

    Private landowners have preserved hundreds of acres of open land through conservation easement and land donations as well as land sales to conservation organizations.
    A champion for open space, the township owns and manages 760 acres in the Reserve and also maintains four miles of regional trail.
    The Almond Marsh and Independence Grove Forest Preserves are some of the key ecological and recreational resources of the Reserve.
    The IDNR has dedicated three Illinois Nature Preserves within the Reserve in order to protect rare habitats.
    Like Conserve Lake County, OpenLands preserves private land through conservation easements. 
    Through cooperative efforts between the Lake County Forest Preserve District, Libertyville Township, and the Village of Grayslake, the trails of the Reserve are connected to the countywide trail system.
    Conserve Lake County, in partnership with Libertyville Township and the Forest Preserve District, purchased Casey Farm in 2007 to prevent development. 
    This conservation community features extensive natural habitats, organic farms, community resources like the Byron Colby Barn, and a trail system.
    Grants from Ducks Unlimited are helped to preserve and restore land in the Reserve.
    This privately-owned golf club is protected by a conservation easement and managed with ecology in mind.