Guidelines for enjoying the forest preserves during quarantine

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Thorn Creek Trail offers different types of beauty during different season. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)
information provided by Friends of the Forest Preserves

COOK COUNTY, Ill. (April 22, 2020) – In order to ensure people’s safety while they are enjoying the Cook County Forest Preserves, and to protect the fragile ecosystems, visitors are encouraged to observe and share the following guidelines:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Whether you are running, biking, flying kites, or bird watching, maintain a six-foot distance from other visitors. Teach little ones to pull off to the side of the trail to let others pass.
  • Try to visit during the least busy times. The forest preserves are open from dawn to dusk, and early mornings or late evenings are usually less busy.
  • Explore some of the less popular or more remote sections of the preserves. If a parking lot is near capacity, find a different site or come back another time.
  • Follow the rules of the preserves: keep dogs leashed; do not trample, forage, pick flowers, or collect firewood; ride only on designated biking trails; and do not feed the deer or the ducks (no matter how cute they are).
  • Keep your visits short and sweet. Go for your hike, walk, or run, and then go home. Remember that the bathrooms are closed, so plan to stay only as long as your bladder can hold.
  • Avoid any risky or new activities that would require a first responder or forest preserve staff support.
  • Throw your garbage into a receptacle, and don’t leave anything else behind. Even better, pull on some gloves and pick up some litter.
  • Call 708-771-1000 to report overcrowding or damage.
  • Sign up to volunteer when restrictions are lifted.

The forest preserves are a resource that can see us through many challenges. Friends of the Forest Preserves is hopeful that the current surge in visitors will result in more advocates and visitors, expanded resources, and increased protection for the forest preserves well into the future.

About Friends of the Forest Preserves

Friends of the Forest Preserves unites people to protect, promote, and care for the forest preserves in Cook County. More information about their mission, membership, and donation opportunities is available at https://www.fotfp.org.

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