Saturday, April 13, 2024

Connect with us:

New Date for Opening Day of Forest Preserves of Cook County permit sales

November 15: Picnic and special event permits available online and in person

information provided by the Forest Preserves of Cook County

COOK COUNTY, Ill. (November 3, 2018) – For the first time, Forest Preserves of Cook County picnic and special event permit sales for the upcoming year begins on Thursday, November 15, 2018, nearly seven weeks earlier than the traditional January opening day.

“For years we have opened up reservations for the next year in person and online on the first working day after New Year’s—usually January 2. Every year people line up outside, sometimes when the temperature is below zero, to get their favorite groves for their preferred date. Additionally, we recognize that some residents may still be busy or out of town for the holidays come January 2,” explains Arnold Randall, General Superintendent for the Forest Preserves. “An earlier Opening Day helps alleviate some of these issues and also gives families more time to plan—some of our customers are planning weddings, family reunions, and other important events, and they want to celebrate those special moments in our Forest Preserves.”

2019 offers numerous opportunities for Cook County residents to head to the Forest Preserves to plan birthday gatherings, reunions, holidays, special events, and other celebrations.

Online and in-person permit sales for 2019 picnics and special events begin at 8:00am on Thursday, November 15, and will remain available 24 hours a day. In-person sales will take place from 8:00am to 4:30pm at the Forest Preserves of Cook County General Headquarters, 536 N. Harlem Avenue in River Forest, or at the Dan Ryan Visitor Center, 8700 S. Western Avenue in Chicago.

In addition to saving time by purchasing permits online, visitors can view information such as site availability, grove maps, and the various fees associated with grove rentals by visiting

Those planning to apply for permits in person must have a valid state identification card or driver’s license. Accepted payment methods are cash, check, or credit card (Visa or MasterCard). Purchasers should begin completing their permit application immediately upon arrival to expedite wait time, and have two or three additional locations in mind in case the first choice is not available.

Regular hours at the General Headquarters location are Mondays through Fridays, 8:30am–4:30pm. Seasonal hours are Memorial Day through Labor Day, Mondays through Fridays 8:30am–6:30pm, and Saturdays 9:00am–2:00pm at General Headquarters.

Picnic permits are required for groups of 25 or more. To reserve picnic groves and request event spaces either online or in-person, patrons must first set up an account at

Permits for groups larger than 399 attendees may be requested beginning October 15, 2018. Customers may submit applications in-person at the General Headquarters location, via email at [email protected] or via fax at 708-771-1071.

In 2018, more than 7,000 permits were sold for picnics and special events. Top sites for picnics and special events include Dan Ryan Woods in Chicago, Busse Woods in northwest Cook County, and Schiller Woods in Chicago/Schiller Park.


The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal publishes news releases from state, county, and local officials who provide information that impacts local community life. The particular contributor of each post is indicated in the byline.