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President's Letter: Be Healthy, Be Safe

The Forest Preserves of Cook County remain open, but we have closed public access to sites and facilities that are areas of concern due to COVID-19. The health and well-being of Forest Preserves visitors and staff are our primary concern. We know that access to nature is critical right now—for both mental and physical wellness.

We implore the public to help us keep locations throughout the Forest Preserves available for fresh air and exercise. If you visit the preserves, you must follow public health guidelines on hygiene and social distancing.

In mid-March, the Forest Preserves closed our public buildings; all six nature centers, grounds and trails; the Swallow Cliff stairs in the Palos Preserves; and all Forest Preserves campgrounds. We also cancelled all public events, volunteer activities and permitted events through May 11, following CDC recommendations.

At the locations that remain open, each and every visitor has new responsibilities in today’s world: stay at that six-foot healthy distance from anyone who does not live in your household, let people know when you’re passing on the trail, don’t congregate in groups, and wash your hands before your trip and when you get home. Also know that all public restrooms in the Preserves, both public and portable, are closed.

The Forest Preserves are keeping a very close eye on crowd conditions at the preserves that are open, particularly those that are more likely to draw many visitors. If conditions change at sites, we can and will close those locations.

When heading to the preserves—or anywhere outside of your home—please follow the rules. For a full list of precautions when visiting, visit the Forest Preserves COVID-19 page, which also has the latest information on closures and cancellations.

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County