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Enjoy the Outdoors Safely Throughout Summer

A person jogging on the Des Plaines Trail.

When visiting the Forest Preserves of Cook County this sunny summer, no matter the activity—from hiking to biking, from camping to golf—keep these simple safety tips to keep in mind while spending time outdoors.

  • Protect yourself against sunburn. Be sure to apply sunscreen before your visit to the Forest Preserves and reapply as needed. Light clothing layers, include a long sleeve shirt or pants, can also help provide protection from the sun. Consider planning your visit during the morning or late afternoon/early evening to avoid sun at its peak. Find more sun safety tips on the CDC website.
  • Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water or other fluids while spending time outside. Drink more than you think you need. Don’t forget to bring water for your dog, too!
  • Protect against mosquitos and ticks. Apply insect repellent with DEET to repel mosquitoes and other insects when outdoors. Always follow label directions. Be sure to check yourself, children and other family members every two to three hours for ticks. Visit our People & Nature page for more information on mosquitos and ticks.
  • Watch for poison ivy. While walking or hiking, stay on the trail and avoid brushing against plants.Poison ivy is a very common native plant that can irritate the skin and cause mild to severe rashes. Check out this Plant Profile to learn more.
  • Secure your vehicle and belongings. Before heading out on the trail, lock your car and set the alarm if you have one. Don’t leave valuables in your car. If you see suspicious activity, call 911.