Blog

New Amenities are for (Watching) the Birds

Orland Grassland, its companion site Orland South and Burnham Prairie are three preserves boasting new amenities that make them excellent spots for fall bird watching. All three sites feature rich and diverse habitats that are ripe for spotting a multitude of migrating birds.

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New Stories, Old Favorites at 2015 Fall Festival

Donate non-perishable food items and get free pumpkin painting and hay rides!   Want to hear a story? Visit Fall Festival at River Trail Nature Center on October 18 and you are likely to hear that question more than once.

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Trail Watch Program Looking For Volunteers

Thousands of friendly greetings expressed. Hundreds of expert directions given. Dozens of critical phone calls made to Forest Preserves Police. These are just some of the ways that Trail Watch volunteers have helped create positive visits for the more than 70,000 hikers, bikers and horseback riders they’ve encountered so far in 2015.   At its core, the Trail Watch program is a group of volunteers that patrol the preserves and act as extra eyes and ears for the Forest Preserves Police, reporting suspicious or illegal activity with a phone call. But it’s also so much more than that—for both volunteers and preserve visitors.

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Welcoming Fall in the Preserves

Before we welcome a new season, I want to thank everyone who participated in our 100 Years / 100 Events Centennial Celebration which wrapped up at the end of September. Throughout the entire week, we estimated nearly 10,000 visitors enjoyed more than 100 events and activities.   I want to encourage those who came to continue visiting the preserves. Autumn is upon us and there is still plenty to do and see in the Forest Preserves. 

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FPCC Police Receive Proactive Training in Procedural Justice

Former Chicago Police Lieutenant Bruce Lipman says it all comes down to respect. The former Chicago Police Officer says respect goes both ways, “We took a job to help people and we have to remember that.” Lipman recently spoke to a group of Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) Police Officers at their headquarters in Hinsdale.   The group session was offered as part of a $5,000 Federal Just Assistance Grant (JAG) issued to the FPCC in 2015. Other than the Chicago Police Department, the FPCC is the only other police agency in Illinois to have offered and delivered this cutting edge training to all of their officers.

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Maple Lake Boating Center Reopens Better Than Ever

Maple Lake is home to largemouth bass, northern pike and more, but now it's also the site of a brand new boating center. Construction on the 3,600-square-foot complex was completed this summer and it is now open to serve fishermen, recreational paddlers and anyone looking to relax in a peaceful setting. The boating center features a boat pier and a fishing pier, indoor bathrooms and an outdoor dining deck. Boat rentals include row boats, canoes and single- and double-kayaks. There is also a concession counter which offers snacks, bait and fishing supplies for sale.  

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Tree Huggers Needed!

The 100 Years / 100 Events week will end on September 27 with a Celebration Finale from 3 to 6 pm at Caldwell Woods featuring performers, art and activities for all ages. In what might be the most unusual and fun aspect of the Celebration Finale, the Forest Preserves of Cook County is inviting everyone to be a part of the Largest Tree Hug in Cook County. Between musical performances and nature play, participants will join together to all hug a tree at the same time in an attempt to set the record.

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Celebrating 100 Years with 100 Events

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   September is here, and we are now just a few days away from our signature Centennial Event: 100 Years / 100 Events.

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Camping CLICs for Youth Leaders

The Forest Preserves and Outdoors Empowered Network (OEN) held the first CLIC (or Camping Leadership Immersion Course) training this June at Camp Sullivan. A dozen youth leaders gathered for the weekend-long course to sharpen their leadership skills, learn about camping equipment use and care and familiarize themselves with group activities related to outdoor recreation and nature-based education.  

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Fourth Annual Forest Preserves Photo Contest

Accepting submissions September 1 -15, 2015!   It’s that time of year again! We’re looking for your very best photos of Forest Preserves landscapes, close-ups of plants, insects, birds and other wildlife, pictures that highlight the seasons and shots of people enjoying the outdoors or participating in our recreational offerings.   This year’s winning photos will be showcased in the 2016 Forest Preserves of Cook County Wall Calendar, on FPDCC.com, on Forest Preserves social media accounts, in an exhibit displayed at the Cook County Building in downtown Chicago and in various suburban courthouses. Each winning photographer will also receive 10 copies of the calendar as well as a Forest Preserves prize package.

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Love the Palos Preserves’ Singletrack Trails? Thank CAMBr!

CAMBr (Chicago Area Mountain Bikers) is well-known for its high-energy Palos Meltdown, a two-day race and exhibition extravaganza held annually in August on the Palos Preserves’ extensive singletrack trail system. Less well-known is that CAMBr members volunteer over 2,000 hours each year to build and maintain those same natural surface singletrack trails enjoyed by runners, bikers, equestrians and hikers.

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Eagle Scout Project Sinks PVC Pipe for Fish

Many Cook County residents are surprised to learn that the fishing lakes they enjoy in the Forest Preserves are not natural features of the landscape, but vestiges of 20th century land use. Most of the lakes began as rock quarries or as “borrow pits” that supplied material for the construction of the Illinois highway system. When these pits were no longer needed, they were converted into bodies of water and stocked with fish for recreation.

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Uncovering Cook County’s Past in the Preserves

By President Toni Preckwinkle   Summer is always a popular season at the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Our 300 miles of trails, free activities, six nature centers, three aquatic centers and new campgrounds offer something for everyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors. But this summer is also a time where we’ve literally rolled up our sleeves. Teams of archaeologists have been working across the county in search of clues to our cultural past.

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Bike Rentals Launch at Dan Ryan Woods & Along North Branch Trail

Can’t bring your bike to the preserves? Rent one through Bike and Roll!

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Preview Our Centennial Celebration with “Taste of the Forest Preserves”

Thursday, August 20, 3:30 - 6:30 pm in Cummings Square, River Forest   The Forest Preserves has been protecting and restoring land for 100 years, but preserving nature in Cook County is only half our story. The other half is written by you, and how you choose to explore and connect with your preserves.

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