Camping Master Plan

A group of girls camping in the Forest Preserves


October 20, 2014: Five camp projects are under construction and three projects—Camp Shabbona (seasonal), Camp Reinberg and Camp Sullivan Group—are expected to be completed in late 2014.

Camp Dan Beard, Camp Sullivan Family and Camp Bullfrog/Maple Lake Boathouse are expected open in the spring of 2015. Track progress on our camp construction and other county-wide projects at


About the Camping Master Plan


The Camping Master Plan outlines a variety of offerings to serve youth, families, groups and individuals of all ages, interests and backgrounds. The plan emphasizes primitive camping and envisions a series of related yet diverse camping experiences built by reinvesting in and revitalizing existing camps, creating new camping destinations, and developing special event campsites near nature centers.


Click here to download the complete plan (PDF).


Priority Sites


Learn more about the planning behind our priority sites and view the most current plans for these projects:



Camp Reinberg (existing) – Palatine


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Camp Reinberg Plans – Click for larger image

From the Master Plan: Long a camping destination in the District system, public input clearly depicts an interest in a retuned camp opportunity here. The property enjoys a dramatic stand of old growth trees and an existing dining hall that is suitable for continued use. Connections are integral to the draw of this property as well – with close proximity the Jens Jensen preserve, Deer Grove East & West, and others via the extensive trail system. A pedestrian underpass is critical to safely leveraging the experience to these facility connections.


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Camp Reinberg Detailed Plans – Click for larger image

The master plan proposes new cabins to the east of the existing dining hall, and a re-forestation of the buffer area between the dining hall and Quentin Road. Cabin rentals extend the season, and the draw of the nearby sledding hill, cross country skiing, and other winter activities are somewhat unique in the overall camping system.



Camp Sullivan (existing) – Tinley Park


From the Master Plan: Camps Sullivan & Camp Falcon have long had a history of overnight use – with the Boy Scouts and youth, and previously dating back to its original roots when built as a CCC compound in the early to mid 1900’s. The cultural legacy of this property runs deep, and there are remnants of the site in its prime period evident on the property – namely a significant barn (Camp Sullivan) that is an icon at the existing entry drive, and a collection of stonework that was a prominent water feature years ago.


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Camp Sullivan Plans – Click for larger image

The master plan suggests that these two sites be significantly reorganized and renovated to serve a diversity of users (youth, families, and schools). Camp Falcon area will be merged with Camp Sullivan into one cohesive camping program. Programs may include environmental education, outdoor skills, and adventure based experience (similar to the scouting interests and other groups that have used this site for many years). A new entry from 143rd Street would provide a better arrival experience and sense of decompression from the highway. The existing cabins at Camp Falcon should be demolished.


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Camp Sullivan Detailed Plans – Click for larger image

New or renovated overnight facilities at Camp Sullivan and Falcon are to include several types of cabin, lodge, and tent camping, in addition to renovation of the existing facilities.


The new camp would include an array of outdoor program amenities that may include a ropes course, equestrian, flexible shelters, and other gathering areas to support various interests. This new camp would be a prime opportunity for a strategic partner organization with a compatible mission to the District. Such an alliance might allow for program delivery by this partner rather than the camp being merely a facility-rental only.



Camp Bullfrog Lake/Pulaski Woods (new) – Willow Springs


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Camp Bullfrog Plans – Click for larger image

From the Master Plan: The site fully surrounds Bullfrog Lake, and has regional connections to Maple Lake. The Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center provide nearby destinations for exploration. The site is the downstream anchor of the Des Plaines River camping corridor, accessible via canoe launch at Columbia Woods. Bullfrog Lake was also selected since it is already somewhat disturbed, allowing for construction on a less delicate area and preserving the more sensitive habitat zones for low impact trail interpretation.


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Camp Bullfrog Detailed Plans – Click for larger image

The site itself has potential for flexible meeting spaces, tent cabins, family cabins, tent camping, and a broad array of outdoor activities. These lodging options are able to serve organized groups and individual families throughout the year. While the lake itself is a hub of activity, the surrounding woodlands will house a ropes course, nature trails, and various other educational and recreational activities.



Shabonna Woods (new) – South Holland


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Camp Shabonna Plans – Click for larger image

From the Master Plan: An important environmental education overnight facility in the Thorn Creek & Little Calumet Corridor is to be a new outpost near Sand Ridge Nature Center at Shabbona Woods. Sited on a previously developed picnic grove “cul de sac” road, the facilities proposed here will have easy access to the nature center, but approach Sand Ridge from the east rather than from the west. Building camp facilities on previously disturbed areas will keep new impacts to a minimum. Closing Shabbona Woods to unscheduled or unprogrammed day use will also hopefully curtail security issues that have been an operational control.


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Camp Bullfrog Detailed Plans – Click for larger image

Trail connections to Sand Ridge will allow an easy operational expansion of programming from the existing facility. This site is geared to serve small school and organized youth organizations seeking a nature-based education experience. Several lodging types plus tent camping options are available. An expanded trail system would serve both nature center visitors and the new camp. The master plan calls for Shabbona to be a primary outreach site for youth.



Camp Dan Beard (existing) – Northbrook


Camp Dan Beard has been utilized by the Boy Scouts for over 50 years. The Forest Preserve District will be removing the existing cabins due to poor condition. Several new cabins will be constructed for group and family use, along with a restroom facility. One of the existing cabins will also be renovated to maintain a tie with the site’s heritage. Proposed new development will include a family camping area featuring tent camping, small cabins, and site suitable for campers or tents. A central restroom and picnic shelters will complete the structures proposed for the family camp area.

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