Camp Sullivan in Oak Forest will open on Friday, June 12, 2015. For the first time in 50 years, public camping is available in Cook County. Reservations can be booked online at fpdcc.com/camping, by phone 1-855-YES-CAMP and in-person at Forest Preserves of Cook County Headquarters located at 536 N. Harlem Avenue in River Forest. Phone and in-person registration are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Camp Sullivan is the second campsite to open since Memorial Day Weekend when the Forest Preserves of Cook County kicked-off the camping season at Camp Shabbona Woods in the South Holland/Calumet City area. A total of five, new and revitalized campgrounds will open throughout the summer.
- 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, coming late June)
- Bullfrog Lake in Willow Springs (new site, coming in July)
- Camp Dan Beard in Northbrook (new site, coming in July)
“As part of our centennial celebration year we are bringing back family camping to the Forest Preserves,” said Forest Preserves of Cook County President, Toni Preckwinkle. “Camping helps young people, families and groups connect with nature and make lasting memories in a way that is affordable, convenient and close to home.”
Camping at Forest Preserves sites is quickly growing in popularity.
“Campsites at Shabbona Woods have been sold out every weekend,” said Forest Preserves of Cook County General Superintendent Arnold Randall. “With the addition of Camp Sullivan and three remaining campsites to open by July, there will be even more opportunities for beginners and skilled campers to enjoy the outdoors throughout the county.”
Camp Sullivan, located at 14630 Oak Park Avenue in Oak Forest will open in two phases. The first phase includes bunkhouses for groups, smaller rustic cabins, primitive group camp sites and a picnic program shelter. Camp Sullivan is also within walking distance to the 10-mile Tinley Creek paved trail and unpaved nature trails and a short drive to George Dunne Golf Course.
Future phases include a wooded family camping area with walk-up and drive-up camp sites (with electric service) and a renovated activity barn with indoor climbing wall and gathering space. An outdoor ropes challenge course is in the planning and design process.
Camp Sullivan is the host site for a special program which trains leaders of large groups with little or no camping experience. The Camping Leadership Immersion Course (CLIC) provides valuable camping and outdoor programing skills and training. Upon completion of the overnight CLIC training course, leaders can register large groups of up to 60 for an overnight campout that includes use of donated gear (tents, sleeping bags, and cooking equipment) by CSX, Columbia, the Outdoor Empowered Network and the Forest Preserve Foundation.
Already, 20 group leaders from various organizations such as The Field Museum, Jewish Child & Family Services, Mujeres Latinas en Accion and the Chicago Police Department are signed up to begin the CLIC training program. Anyone interested in signing up for the CLIC program can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unlike other camping sites, Forest Preserves of Cook County Camping will offer 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.
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 for Cook County residents. Non-residents will pay $10 more per night.
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.