Firefighters and police respond to Openlands Lakeshore Preserve at Fort Sheridan, 31 Walker Avenue in Highland Park, for an unknown type military device that was found on the shoreline Saturday. | Photo: Max Weingardt

Officials say the bomb squad was called after a military device was found along the shoreline at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve near Highland Park, less than two months after the preserve reopened to the public.

The Highland Park Police Department, Lake County Forest Preserves Police and Highland Park Fire Department responded around 1:20 p.m. Saturday to Openlands Lakeshore Preserve at Fort Sheridan, 31 Walker Avenue in Highland Park.

A person walking along the shoreline reported finding a possible explosive device in the water, according to Lake County Forest Preserves Executive Director Alex Ty Kovach.

Emergency crews arrived and found an unknown military device, which was very deteriorated, Kovach said.

The Waukegan Fire Department Bomb Squad and the U.S. Navy were notified and the bomb squad responded to the scene.

Authorization was granted to destroy the device and the bomb squad disposed of the object on site.

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The device was described as small in size and approximately a foot long, Kovach said. It likely washed up with the waves or tide.

Openlands Lakeshore Preserve remained open to the public during the incident but authorities cordoned off the area where the device was found for several hours.

Kovach said the discovery is why no swimming is allowed at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve.

The preserve had been closed for more than two years due to explosive material, possibly from World War II being found.

The 71-acre parcel reopened to the public in late August.

The property features a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline, three restored ravines and blufftops, accessible trails, overlooks and art installations.

People who visit Openlands Lakeshore Preserve are cautioned that munition items may be present and are recommended to “recognize, retreat and report” if they encounter any devices, according to warning signs.

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