The dunes at Montrose are looking ever more natural. In the year or so since I last visited the Magic Hedge and its environs, this section of the Chicago lakefront has grown considerably more wild. The development of largish tidal pools along the edge of the Lake was a particular surprise.
Years ago, this part of Montrose beach was a popular dog run, where owners could bring their dogs for a swim and let them run off-leash. It was a prized amenity in a city where canines are (wisely) hemmed in by strictly observed rules. The numbers of people and animals traipsing out to this part of the beach promontory, however, had reduced it to an ugly no-mans-land.
The dogs’ paradise was also incompatible with the goal of the nearby Magic Hedge, which is to provide migratory birds with a tranquil and inviting sanctuary. So, several years ago, the dog beach was moved inland, to the benefit of this precious parcel of naturally occurring dune. Each year it becomes more impressive–an escape hatch to the region’s past and into nature now.