Blog

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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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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Did You Know? Dead Trees Play an Important Role

“Why don’t you clean up the dead trees in the forest?” is one of the most frequent questions residents ask the Forest Preserves’ Resource Management staff. While dead trees may not be the most attractive part of a forest, they are essential to its health. As dead wood is decomposed (by fungi, bacteria and other life forms) it aids new plant growth by returning important nutrients to the ecosystem.

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Counting Down to 100 Years, 100 Events

By President Toni Preckwinkle   Summer is in full swing, and the Forest Preserves of Cook County offer numerous activities as a way to get warmed up for our signature centennial, “100 Years, 100 Events.”

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How to Band an Osprey in 10 Photos (and a Video)

With 16 osprey platforms and about a dozen active nests each year, the Forest Preserves can claim the most successful urban osprey program of its kind in North America. Programs like the one started at the Forest Preserves in the 1980s have helped osprey populations recover from major declines due in part to the agricultural use of DDT from the 1950s to early 1970s. Click here to learn more about the Forest Preserves osprey program.   Forest Preserves biologists monitor these active nests, visiting each one in early summer to band and check on the health of the osprey chicks inside. See how the process works with these photos (and video) from this year’s first banding at Saganashkee Slough.

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New Garden Blooms at Little Red Schoolhouse

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center has long been a favorite spot for both Cook County residents and out-of-town visitors to appreciate nature. But when the new visitor’s center was being constructed a few years ago, one of the highlights of the grounds had to be moved—the popular Multipurpose Garden.   This relocation provided a can’t-miss opportunity to incorporate public feedback and create an improved and expanded garden that better addressed the needs of visitors of all abilities.

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