Dean Lindsay likened an open Langdon Beach to an amusement park. And he was a kid running to be the first one in.
While it’s not a long-term fix, a gravel and stone path was installed last week to offer public access to Langdon Beach for the first time in four years.
“I felt kind of silly about, that it mattered so much. I’m 76 years old, but felt like a young person,” Lindsay said. “It’s wonderful. We’re so thrilled.”
Langdon Beach, which is at Sheridan Road and Chestnut Avenue, opened to the public in 2007, but over time, Lake Michigan’s rising water levels and local stormwater eroded the beach and bluff at the site.
In 2018, the park district created a 10-foot-wide path down the dune in order to keep the beach open; however, erosion continued and shrank the path down to 3 feet. Access to the beach was restricted indefinitely in 2019.
After record-highs in 2020, the water levels began to recede, leading the Wilmette Park District to consider ways to safely restore beach access by fortifying the bluff and adding pathways to the beachfront.
With the temporary path now open, the Park Board turns its full focus to a permanent solution, which is on the docket for Monday’s meeting. Commissioners have pledged to make the path ADA compliant.
Lindsay, and other Langdon users and advocates, have protested against the addition of unnatural surfaces and anything that threatens the park’s natural landscape.
Of the options on the table, Lindsay said he and his peers only tolerate one: No. 2, a 380-foot path that is straighter than the others.
“We want to preserve and protect it,” Lindsay said of Langdon. “We call it wild and wooly. We want to go there for nature and keep it the way it is.”
Stay tuned to The Record for coverage of the Park Board meeting on Monday, Sept. 11.
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