Millennium Reserve is a transforming region in the Calumet and southeast Chicago lakefront areas -- 210 square miles in all -- with thriving commerce, communities, and wildlife. Our goal is to catalyze innovative partnerships and action in the region that:

    I.     Honor its cultural and industrial past;

    II.    Restore and enhance the natural ecosystems;

    III.   Support healthy and prosperous communities and residents; and

    IV.   Stimulate vigorous and sustainable economic growth.

The Reserve recognizes that conservation and sustainable land use in urban areas are inextricably linked to healthy communities and a robust economy.

Millennium Reserve stretches from downtown Chicago southeast to the Indiana border and southwest to suburban Park Forest. It encompasses numerous neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side, the southeast lakefront, and 37 south suburban municipalities. In aggregate, the Reserve includes a collection of over 15,000 acres of open space such as parks, trails, wetlands, and forest preserves. Nearly 6,000 of these acres are considered high-quality natural areas. One million residents live within the Reserve.

Millennium Reserve is a shared vision that unifies public, nonprofit, and commercial leaders seeking to make the most of the region’s assets. Moreover, it is an ongoing initiative guided by partners who understand community priorities, and it is designed to make on-the-ground projects happen. The initiative includes projects that range from neighborhood-based in scale to those of regional significance. Millennium Reserve recognizes the work of partners, particularly those whose decades-long commitment to the region have created the foundation for this initiative.

Partners provide their own human and financial resources. They catalyze action by focusing, leveraging, and augmenting existing resources and by working within a collaborative framework to achieve exponential results. These results will provide tangible benefits for the region that can be measured by job growth, new acres restored, increased public access to natural areas, and much more.

The State of Illinois launched Millennium Reserve in 2012. An Executive Order in 2013 then established the Millennium Reserve Steering Committee, a  stakeholder-driven leadership structure with the State as one of many partners. In 2014, the Steering Committee recommended 14 priorities for advancing transformative, regionally-significant opportunities. The Steering Committee’s work is complemented by the State Agency Task Force, charged with aligning and focusing State resources and authorities to advance Reserve goals.

Millennium Reserve is part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative, which works to align federal programs with locally-developed conservation and recreation goals. Since its inception, Millennium Reserve has welcomed over 100 partners and key stakeholders.


Updated December 2014