Forest Preserves of Cook County
Create Your Own Adventure This Summer in the
Forest Preserves of Cook County
Endless ways to explore 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful
With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time for area residents to begin planning an adventure in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Forest Preserves’ nearly 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful offer numerous opportunities to escape life’s hustle and bustle for an hour, a day or even a night. Residents can feel free to boldly explore 300 miles of trails, learn about archery, visit a Nature Center, or pitch a tent at one of five campgrounds. The Forest Preserves of Cook County have all of the programs, tools and equipment for a summer full of adventure:
While spending the night under the stars at one of the Forest Preserves’ five campgrounds, campers can enjoy free weekend activities between Memorial Day and Labor Day – including Friday and Saturday evening programs and night campfires, and Saturday afternoon activities and hikes. The Forest Preserves also offers a free Camping 101 programs to learn the basics of camping.
Swimming and Aquatics:
Kids can play and swim, and families can relax all summer long at one of three aquatic centers. The Forest Preserves aquatic center management team, Swim Chicago Southland, offers a swim school, aquatic fitness programs and water rehabilitation – as well as the expected 100,000 gallons of water fun. On Saturday, May 27, the Forest Preserves is offering free admission at all three Aquatic Centers, and on May 28-29, families can enjoy half-priced admission.
Ziplining and Treetop Adventures:
For residents looking to create an exciting adventure, the Go Ape Treetop Adventure and Zip Line Course offers a unique two- to three-hour trek through the forest canopy. The course includes 40 obstacles situated more than 40 feet high and five zip lines for a total of 2,837 feet of exhilaration.
The Forest Preserves’ summertime film series – Films in the Forest– features films with a nature connection presented along with family-friendly activities based on the movie. This season’s movie lineup includes “Batman,” “The Angry Birds Movie,” “Finding Dory” and “Zootopia.” Attendees can pack a dinner picnic and enjoy a relaxing evening of fun and entertainment at scenic preserves throughout the summer.
For music lovers, the Forest Preserves’ summertime Forest Jams series offers the opportunity to join a group jam session, learn about making instruments from natural and recycled materials, and enjoy concerts by local musicians.
Each of the Forest Preserves’ six Nature Centers offers a unique experience, while highlighting local geology, native plants and animals, and provides a number of educational, family-friendly special events and programs throughout the season.
Residents can plan a day on the water while paddling in the preserves, with eight boating lakes throughout the Forest Preserves, and numerous boat launch locations along the Des Plaines River, Little Calumet River and North Branch of the Chicago River. Boat rentals are also available at Busse Reservoir, Maple Lake, Tampier Lake and Skokie Lagoons.
Anglers can drop a line at one of the Forest Preserves’ 40 managed sport fishing lakes. Some of the species found within FPCC waters include largemouth bass, walleye, muskie, northern pike, bluegill and crappie.
Residents looking for a relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon can consider hitting the links at one of the Forest Preserves’ 10 golf course and four driving ranges.
To learn more about the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visit fpdcc.com. A complete listing of all events and programs is posted to the Forest Preserves’ events website at fpdcc.com/events, with seasonal brochures that can be downloaded.
Did you know some birds sing notes too high for humans to hear? Or that ospreys almost always carry fish parallel to their bodies to improve aerodynamics? Have you ever seen a heron eat a fish whole, or a crow using homemade tools catch their prey? The native and migrating birds that can be spotted in the Forest Preserves of Cook County are as unique and diverse as the Forest Preserves themselves!
New and experienced birders can enjoy this fun and versatile year-round activity while experiencing the many amenities offered throughout the Forest Preserves, including miles of marked trails, major waterways that can be canoed or kayaked, dedicated nature preserves, nature centers and more.
Forest Preserves of Cook County Prepares for Spring 2017 Trout Fishing Season
More than 4,000 pounds of fish will be added to fishing lakes
The Forest Preserves of Cook County is pleased to announce the 2017 spring inland trout fishing season, opening on Saturday, Apr. 1, at Axehead Lake (Park Ridge), Belleau Lake (Park Ridge), Sag Quarry East (Lemont), Horsetail Lake (Palos Park) and Green Lake (Calumet City).
The Forest Preserves will be purchasing and stocking approximately 500 pounds of rainbow trout for Sag Quarry East, 1,250 pounds for Axehead Lake, and 1,250 pounds for Belleau Lake; while the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be purchasing and stocking 700 pounds for Green Lake, and 600 pounds for Horsetail Lake. These are catchable sized rainbow trout, in the 1/2 –1 lb. size range.
The Forest Preserves’ trout lakes will be closed to all fishing from Monday, Mar. 27, until sunrise on Saturday, Apr. 1, allowing the trout to disperse throughout the lakes prior to opening. As part of the IDNR’s stocking program, fishing for and possession of any trout is illegal from Mar. 15 until sunrise on Saturday, Apr. 1.
Once the season opens, there is a five trout per day creel limit with no size restrictions. No more than two lines per person with no more than two hooks per line may be used.
A valid Illinois sport fishing license with an Inland Trout Stamp is required for anglers 16 years of age and older. An Illinois sport fishing license is not required for Illinois residents who are disabled and have a State of Illinois disabled I.D. card showing a Class 2 or 2A disability or a Veterans Disability Card, and Illinois residents who are on active military duty and are home on leave.
For a list of all of the lakes and waters open to public fishing within the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visit fpdcc.com/recreation/fishing and download the Fishing Guide. The guide includes maps that show the location and depths of each lake, and list principal fish species.
The public can contact the Forest Preserves’ Fisheries Section at 708-403-6951 for further information.
"The Forest Preserve District of Cook County, with more than 69,000-acres, is the largest forest preserve district in the United States. It receives an estimated 40 million visits each year, providing an escape into a world teeming with wildlife and rich with outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities. Within its boundaries are rare habitats that offer plant and animal diversity on par with the rainforests of the world. This natural heritage offers something for everyone:
Oak woodlands and savannas
Migratory fly-ways that afford spectacular birding
22 dedicated nature preserves
40 managed lakes and ponds
7 major waterways that can be canoed or kayaked and offer glimpses of waterflow and shorebirds
300 miles of marked trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross country skiing
Scenic spots for painting, photography or quiet reflection"