Official Grand Opening of fourth Cook County Forest Preserves campsite and newly remodeled Maple Lake Boat House offer additional amenities to residents of southwest suburbs
Cook County Forest Preserves’ newest camp site opened today to outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers and novice campers alike. Local officials joined the Forest Preserves of Cook County General Superintendent Arnold Randall for a ribbon cutting and opening celebration of the new campground, which offers year-round camping, group activities and fishing.
Camp Bullfrog Lake boasts access to the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature and Sagawau Environmental Learning Centers, and the Stone House single-track mountain bike trail for campers and mountain bikers.
Nestled in the Palos Preserve of southwest suburban Cook County, campers and visitors can enjoy water activities at the newly remodeled Maple Lake Boathouse. Opening for the first time today, the historic boat house features new amenities including a concession area and dock. Water activities can be enjoyed with rented watercraft from the Maple Lake concessioner. Bait and tackle can also be purchased for fishing. Additional water activities and scenic views can be found at Tampier Lake & Boathouse, and the Saganashkee Slough which are also easily accessible within the Palos Preserves.
“Experiencing the outdoors and connecting with nature no longer has to mean extended travel,” said Toni Preckwinkle, Forest Preserves of Cook County President. “We are proud to provide access to the many benefits of outdoor activities to families right here in Cook County.”
Camp Bullfrog Lake, located at 9600 Wolf Road in Willow Springs, is part of the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s renewed camping program, which launched this summer. Additional sites include:
- Camp Sullivan in Oak Forest (revitalized site, Now Open)
- Camp Shabbona Woods in South Holland (new site, Now Open)
- Camp Reinberg in Palatine (revitalized site, Now Open)
- Camp Dan Beard in Northbrook (new site, Coming Soon)
“With scenic lakes and more than 50 miles of iconic trails, Camp Bullfrog Lake brings campers and nature lovers close to nearly every aspect of the outdoors,” said Arnold Randall, General Superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. “Families can now easily connect with nature every season of the year at Camp Bullfrog Lake.”
Camp Bullfrog Lake offers a variety of accommodations and amenities for individuals, families and groups. Lodging options include two-bedroom (heated and air conditioned) cabins with private bathroom, various walk-up and drive-up (with electric service) camp sites, as well as small rustic cabins.
The site also features new restrooms and shower facilities, a small concession area, a common area for field games and special events as well as three picnic pavilions overlooking scenic Bullfrog Lake.
“We are delighted to have Camp Bullfrog Lake as part of our community, and to be able promote outdoor recreation and activities in its beautiful setting to our families and visitors,” said Alan Nowaczyk, Mayor of Willow Springs.
Unlike other camping sites, Forest Preserves of Cook County Camping offers optional daily activities and regular special events for campers at all sites. This free programming is provided by Forest Preserve staff and varies by site, but includes archery, campfires and nature hikes. Gear rental, Camping 101 and Family Campouts are also available.
Visit FPDCC.com/camping for a full list of amenities at each campsite and to make reservations for all opened campsites. Reservations can also be made by calling 855-YES-CAMP or in-person at Forest Preserves of Cook County Headquarters (536 N. Harlem Avenue in River Forest) between Monday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Additionally, Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. for in-person reservations.
All sites are professionally managed by Billy Casper Golf, the longtime manager of the Cook County’s golf courses. Campsites have 24-hour staff and will be monitored with regular patrols by the Forest Preserves Police Department. Camps Sullivan, Bullfrog and Reinberg are open 362 days a year but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Camps Dan Beard and Shabbona are open April through October.
Fees vary by season and day, but range from $30 for a weekday tent pad to $200 for a Saturday night stay at a 36-bed bunkhouse (at Camp Sullivan) for Cook County residents. Non-residents will pay $10 more per night. There is also a 50 percent discount for all non-profit organizations.
The total cost of the campgrounds including design, engineering and construction is approximately $29 million and is part of the Forest Preserves’ Capital Improvement Program. Funding for the campgrounds came from General Obligation Bonds issued in June 2012 for the purpose of funding land acquisition and capital improvement projects.
About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.