2017 Permit Sales Begin Jan. 3

Online and in-person permit sales for 2017 will begin at 8 am on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Visitors can apply for permits in person at the Forest Preserves General Headquarters, located at 536 N. Harlem in River Forest. The entrance to the parking lot is one block west of Harlem, off of Bonnie Brae. Remember: You can save time by booking online at

When booking permits in person, please note:

  • Doors will open at 7 am.
  • A valid state identification card or driver’s license is required to book a permit.
  • Payment methods are cash, check or credit card (Visa or MasterCard).
  • Begin completing your permit application immediately upon your arrival to expedite wait time.
  • Please have two or three additional locations in mind in case your first choice is not available.
  • Provide a valid 501(c)3 letter and business card or company letter for nonprofit requests.


Online Map-Based Reservations:

We have updated our permit site based on your feedback. New this year: Online reservations can be made using interactive maps that give real time availability of picnic areas. Please note that Special Use requests will not be available online, however will continue to be available in person, or by e-mail or fax. Special Use requests must be submitted by the permit holder.


New Fee Structure:

Please note that there are new fees and attendance levels for the 2017 permit season. Click here for the new fee structure.


Dan Ryan Visitor Center:

New this year: Permits will be available for in-person purchase at the Dan Ryan Visitor Center, 8700 S. Western in Chicago, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm every Friday in January beginning on January 6.


Events with 1,000+ Attendees:

Applications for Large Events with an estimated attendance of 1,000+ will be available beginning Dec. 19, 2016. Large Event permit purchasers can submit their applications via email to, USPS mail or in person beginning Dec. 19, 2016. Applications will be processed on a first come, first serve basis. Please call 800-870-3666 for additional questions.


Events with Routes:

Events that include routes, such as walks or runs, are required to submit the proposed route at the time of application submission. Applications without proposed routes will not be accepted.


Athletic Field Rentals:

Reservations for athletic fields will be accepted beginning Feb. 6, 2017. Additional details will be sent out at a later date.


Indoor Rentals:

Indoor room rental reservations for 2017 will be accepted beginning Nov. 28, 2016 via email only at Please call 773-631-1790 for additional information.


If you have questions, suggestions or concerns, contact our permits staff by calling 800-870-3666 or visiting

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