Long-time scouting staple now available to the public
For the first time in nearly 50 years, public camping is available at Camp Dan Beard. Located at the northern edge of Cook County at 200 Portwine Road in Northbrook.
The Forest Preserves launched a public camping program with great success attracting a total of more than 11,000 campers since Memorial Day 2015 at five locations—Camp Bullfrog Lake in Western Springs, Camp Reinberg in Palatine, Camp Sullivan in Oak Forest, Camp Shabonna Woods in South Holland and Camp Dan Beard in Northbrook.
“For many years, Camp Dan Beard has been a popular destination for Scout troops looking to learn various skills including leadership, communication and team work,” said Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle who helped celebrate Dan Beard’s summer kick-off with Cook County General Superintendent Arnold Randall.
“I am pleased that now, in addition to the many scouts who come here, the general public can now enjoy the same experiences,” Preckwinkle said.
Camp Dan Beard now features renovated rustic cabins perfect for group or family campers. The site also includes open fields for group tent camping. The camp’s shelters and picnic sites are also great for events.
“Camp Dan Beard is an ideal setting for individuals, groups and families who want to enjoy the outdoors close to home in Cook County,” said FPCC General Superintendent Arnold Randall. “Even though we live in one of the most densely populated urban and suburban areas of the country, Cook County residents and others in the region have access to nearly 70,000 acres of green space—we hope camping will serve as a larger gateway to experiencing and appreciating nature.”
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.