To acquire, restore, restock and manage lands for the purpose of protecting and preserving natural communities including, prairies, forests, wetlands, rivers, streams, and all their associated flora and fauna for the purpose of providing educational, leisure and outdoor recreation opportunities for Cook County residents now and in the future.
General Superintendent: Arnold Randall
Mandates, Programs, and Key Activities
Cook County Forest Preserve District Act (Illinois Statute, 1913), 70 ILCS 810/7:
- Acquire land to preserve and protect public open-space.
- Restore and manage native habitats to maintain plant and animal diversity and ecological health.
- Provide environmental education programs for families, individuals, students, and youth groups.
- Offer compatible outdoor recreation opportunities for public enjoyment.
- Manage operations using best practices to ensure the most efficient, effective and transparent use of public funds.
Programs and Key Activities
The Forest Preserves provide Cook County residents:
- Nature: Nearly 69,000-acres of natural areas and open space; biologically diverse, rare native forests, woodlands, savannas, prairies and wetlands; and 22 dedicated nature preserves.
- Environmental Education: Six nature centers (offering education programs for all ages, interpretive trails and exhibits), one wildlife research facility.
- Outdoor Recreation: 311 picnic groves, 40 managed lakes and ponds, two youth camps, seven major waterways, three aquatic centers, 10 golf facilities, 300 miles of marked trails.
Budget and Full Time Employee Data
The Forest Preserve District is on a different fiscal year than the rest of the County. Budget and FTE metrics are captured under the Fiscal Responsibility Goal.