Picnic & Special Event Permits FAQ

Family picnic

Important things to know on the day of your event.

 
Don’t see an answer to your question? You can contact us at (800) 870-3666 or fpd.permits@cookcountyil.gov.

 

 

 

When can we start and end our picnic or event?

 

Picnic groves are open sunrise to sunset, but you should check your permit for approved start and end times. The Forest Preserves recommends you occupy your picnic grove between 9 am – 11 am with a paper copy of the approved permit, to ensure no one takes your tables or occupies your grove.

 

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Will we have access to restrooms?

 

Restrooms provided by the Forest Preserves are for the use of all patrons, not exclusively for your event. The type of restroom (comfort station, public port-o-let, etc.) will vary depending on your grove location. You may rent private port-o-lets through a vendor of your choice. Use of private port-o-lets requires a Special Use Permit, which must be submitted and approved at least 10 business days prior to the event.

 

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Are picnic tables provided?

 

Approximately 8-10 tables are offered, but not guaranteed. You may bring your own tables and chairs.

 

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Are grills provided? Can I bring our own?

 

The Forest Preserves does not provide grills, but you may bring your own grill. Grills larger than five feet wide require a Special Use Permit, which must be submitted and approved at least 10 business days prior to the event. Hot coals must be discarded in designated coal bins provided on-site.

 

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Will we have access to electricity?

 

Electrical outlets are not available at any Forest Preserves picnic groves. You may rent generators through a vendor of your choice. Generator usage requires a Special Use Permit, which must be submitted and approved at least 10 business days prior to the event.

 

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Can we bring alcohol?

 

Alcohol is allowed at most picnic groves, but you should check your permit to confirm your picnic grove allows alcohol. All alcohol must be consumed at least 50 feet from any parking lot. No glass is permitted.

 

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Will there be water available?

 

The Forest Preserves cannot guarantee the availability of potable water. You are encouraged to bring your own water supply.

 

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What parking is available?

 

Parking is available near all picnic groves, but you should check your permit to confirm parking lot capacity. Parking lots provided by the Forest Preserves are for the use of all patrons, not exclusively for your event. There is no parking allowed outside of designated parking spaces.

 

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Can we have a bonfire?

 

No open fires are permitted.

 

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Who can we contact with any concerns about the condition of our picnic grove?

 

Contact the maintenance department at the number noted on your permit.

 

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Who can we contact to settle picnic grove disputes?

 

Contact Forest Preserves Police at 708-771-1001 to settle disputes. Always dial 9-1-1 for emergencies.

 

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What if there is bad weather on the day of my event?

 
The Forest Preserves reserves the right to cancel or relocate an event at any time if bad weather and/or ground conditions may cause excessive damage to Forest Preserves property. Rain dates or refunds will not be issued.

 

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