Trail Master Plan

Four people walking along a primitive trail at Deer Grove-East

Trail Capital Plan and Guiding Principles

Trails are one of the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s greatest assets and an important “front door” to the preserves for many people. The Trail Capital Plan and Guiding Principles is intended to provide a framework for making sure that our trails are always in good condition, evaluating and prioritizing upgrades to our current system, identifying critical gaps in our trail system, and prioritizing new trail construction to inform the annually updated 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan. The Trail Capital Plan and Guiding Principles will use the Forest Preserves’ Trail Master Plan, which sets policy, to relate to these short-term capital needs.

Download Trail Capital Plan and Guiding Principles (PDF).

The overarching goal of the Trail Master Plan (2014) is to improve the user experience and identify opportunities to ensure a safe and easy-to-navigate trail system. This plan is intended to provide baseline information on the current trail system, recommend new policies for managing trails, create a process for assessing requests to improve unrecognized trails and prioritize future capital improvement projects to enhance the system. It also describes the need for further information gathering, as well as, additional staff and volunteers to adequately fund, maintain and police the system as it continues to expand.

The planning process was developed and managed by the Forest Preserves’ Planning and Development Department with assistance from other Preserves departments. An Advisory Committee was formed to support and inform the Trail Master Plan. A survey was also conducted online and on-site at two trail locations to capture suggestions from a sampling of trail users. The first draft was developed in a compressed timeframe from May to September 2013. Additional outreach and review of the draft was completed in the fall of 2013. Because it was not possible to assess all parts of the system during the initial planning period, additional assessment and information gathering continued into 2014.