Did You Know?

LaBagh Woods is named after Ella LaBagh, a "long-time resident of Chicago, a prominent member of the Irving Park Woman's Club and a stalwart worker in the movement to establish the Forest Preserve District of Cook County," according to the Forest Preserves archives.   Located north of Foster Avenue and east of Cicero Avenue in northwest Chicago, the site was formerly called Snell's Woods, after the owner of the land when the Forest Preserve District purchased it in 1920.

Young Philanthropists for the Woods

Two friends use creativity to raise funds for their favorite preserve   Inspired by many hours spent at Thatcher Woods with their families, Maeve Mascarenhas of Forest Park and Carl Faust of River Forest, both 11, have chosen this River Forest site for their annual "Giving Project."   The two friends have been selling hand-made projects for the past five years to benefit animals and the environment. This year, they have produced postcards featuring their own nature photographs to raise money for the Forest Preserve Foundation. The funds will be directed toward the purchase of restoration equipment to be used by site stewards and Conservation Corps workers.   Anyone inspired by these caring young individuals may purchase their artwork by contacting or match their efforts with a gift to the Forest Preserve Foundation.

Happy Canoe Year!

Event Cancelled Happy Canoe Year has been cancelled due to ice and dangerous temperatures. Please join us for our Canoe Season Kickoff (and make-up event) on March 21. Same route, warmer weather. Details coming soon. Ring in the New Year with a paddling trip down the North Branch of the Chicago River  

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The Preserves Go Underground

Prairies and herons take over pedway beneath Daley Plaza

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Two More Des Plaines Dams Removed

Only three to go before Upper Des Plaines River flows free   With each passing year, the Des Plaines River flows more freely.

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Five Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Prescribed Burns

Each spring and fall Resource Management crews prepare to maintain diverse habitats throughout the forest preserves with one of the most effective tools available—fire. (Burn season officially started this past weekend, with crews out at several locations across the county.)   Understanding how fire behaves and its ecological role in our natural landscape is critical to a successful burn season. Here are five things you may not know about prescribed burns:

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Trailside Museum Reopens

Closed over the summer, the River Forest landmark has a new parking lot, exhibits, amenities

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Photo Contest Winners Capture 12 Months of Beauty

2015 Calendar Available in Mid-December   How good are this year’s winning photos? We’ll let our Facebook fans tell you:

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Forest Preserve Proposition of 1914: The Day Cook County Said Yes to Nature

by Natalie Bump Vena   On November 3, 1914, Cook County residents went to the polls just as they will do this Tuesday, November 4, 2014. The 1914 ballot included a referendum that posed a pivotal question: Shall there be organized a forest preserve be known as Forest Preserve District of Cook County…?

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The Importance of Funding Restoration

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   In my 2015 proposed budget for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, which is currently available for review and public comment, I recommend the allocation of $6 million toward landscape restoration and related projects. This is by far the largest single line item in the budget, and it’s the second consecutive year we’ve allocated this amount to habitat restoration.

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Try This: Celebrate Halloween in the Preserves

Looking for family fun this fall?   The Forest Preserves offers many fun and spooky ways to celebrate Halloween throughout Cook County. Check out the events below to find a new (and unique) way to get your family in the Halloween spirit!

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Wellness in the Woods

Free membership to your 69,000-acre outdoor gym   Would you rather bike in a basement, or ride a trail through a prairie in bloom? Hit the gym stair-climber, or enjoy the striking view from the top of a hill? Do yoga in a cramped room, or under a breathtaking sunset?   Starting this fall, we’ll help you move your workout into nature with our new Wellness in the Woods initiative. This year-round fitness program will provide three introductory classes per season, held throughout Cook County.

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Palos Trails Get Test Makeover

New signage to make navigation easier—try it and take our survey   With more than 40 miles of intersecting trails, the 15,000-acre Palos Preserve complex near Willow Springs can sometimes be a challenge to navigate. That’s why we’ve chosen Palos to test out a new signage system we hope will make exploring this vast preserve just a bit easier—especially for those less familiar with our trails or not gifted with an especially good internal compass.   If it works at Palos, we’ll evaluate it for use at other complex trails across the forest preserves. We hope you’ll give it a try and tell us what you think.

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North Branch Trail Extension Completed

Woodland path links two major trail systems   On September 13, the Forest Preserves and Chicago Botanic Garden officially opened a new mile-long extension of the northern end of the North Branch Trail. The new path connects two major bike routes, the North Branch Trail and the Green Bay Trail.  

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Winter Fish Kills Take Toll

Tuma Lake opening delayed indefinitely   It’s hidden below the surface, but proof of last winter’s bitter weather is still on display in a handful of Forest Preserve lakes and ponds.

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Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County