Picnic & Special Event Permits

a picnic

Our picnic groves and preserves are popular locations for gatherings of all sizes.

 

The Forest Preserves have approximately 297 picnic groves (191 with shelters) available for public use. Permit fees vary based on grove size, capacity and special items used on Forest Preserves property. Basic picnic permits range from $47 to $115, but special event permits require additional fees.

 

Need help? Contact us at FPDCC.RVP@cookcountyil.gov or (800) 870-3666 (option 2).

Purchase Your Permit:

Fees, requirements and deadlines vary depending on the details of your event.

Purchase OnlineDownload Application

 

Jump to:   Requirements/Deadlines | Insurance & Special Use Items | Non-Profts

 

Event Definitions, Requirements & Deadlines

 

Fees, requirements and deadlines vary depending on the details of your event. Click here for an overview of permits fees (PDF).

 

Basic Picnic

Definition
Examples
  • Family reunion
  • Birthday party
  • Graduation party
Application Deadlines
  • Online: 21 days prior to event
  • In-person: 14 days prior to event
  • Permit changes: 14 days prior to event
Special Requirements

 

Special Event

Definition
  • Any size attendance
  • Public event or event with registration/tickets
  • May feature special use items
Examples
  • Festival
  • Performance
  • Fundraiser (see “Athletic (Sporting) Events” for walks/runs)
Application Deadlines
  • 25 – 399 attendees: 30 days prior to event
  • 400 – 999 attendees: 45 days prior to event
  • 1,000+ attendees: 60 days prior to event
  • Permit changes: 14 days prior to event
Special Requirements

 

Athletic (Sporting) Event

Definition
  • Any size attendance
  • Spectator-sport or competition based; may feature a designated route
  • Public event or event with registration/tickets
  • May feature special use items
Examples
  • 5K walk/run
  • Fishing derby
  • Bike race
Application Deadlines
  • 25 – 399 attendees: 30 days prior to event
  • 400 – 999 attendees: 45 days prior to event
  • 1,000+ attendees: 60 days prior to event
  • Permit changes: 14 days prior to event
Special Requirements
  • Subject to insurance requirements
  • Events with a route/course must submit a designated route and signage plan in advance of permit approval.
  • Events with 400+ attendees must use a large event area. See locations (PDF)

 

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Insurance Requirements & Special Use Items

Special Events, Athletic (Sporting) Events and Basic Picnics using special use items require a Certificate of Liability Insurance, naming the Forest Preserves of Cook County as an additional insured in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence. Events with 1,000+ attendees require $2,000,000 per occurrence. All documentation must be submitted and approved at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Special Use Items include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Amplified Equipment
  • Animals (petting zoo, pony rides, etc.)
  • Canopy Tent (larger than 10×10)
  • Commercial Grade Grill (5 feet & wider)
  • Dumpsters
  • Generator(s)
  • Inflatable(s)
  • On-Site Catering
  • Port-o-let/Port-o-sink
  • Snack Machine (popcorn, cotton candy, etc.)
  • Stage/Platform

 

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Non-Profit Discount

 

A bona fide Not for Profit organization is one which is engaged in charitable, educational, civic, youth and faith-based activities. For purposes of qualifying for the Not for Profit Organization Reduced Rate, an applicant must submit proof of the following:

 

  • Exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • Current registration with the Illinois Attorney General as a charitable organization;
  • The location of the official headquarters or administrative office of the organization submitting the request for said permit is located in County Cook and is the same as that which is on file with the Illinois Attorney General, or was submitted for exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, except in the case of local chapters of national organizations, wherein the local chapter maintains a Cook County office and submits proof of affiliation with the national organization. The following are acceptable proof of address:
    • Letter on company letter head signed by management
    • Business card with name of applicant
  • If the applicant is a school located within Cook County, no additional documentation or proof of Not for Profit status shall be required, other than a letter on school letterhead signed by an official of the school stating that the activity/event is officially sanctioned under and supervised by employee(s) of the school.

 

Purchase at Not for Profit Organization Reduced Rate:

Download Application

 

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2016 Construction

 

Updated 12/29/2015. Construction will impact parking or comfort station availability at the following locations in 2016:

 

Location Impact
Forest Glen Woods Parking reduced by 20 spaces (approximately 81 remaining)
Irene C. Hernandez Family Picnic Area Parking reduced by 10 spaces (approximately 75 remaining)
LaBagh Woods Parking reduced by 20 spaces (approximately 430 remaining), comfort station closed
Thaddeus S. “Ted” Lechowicz Woods Parking reduced by 15 spaces (approximately 77 remaining)

 

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