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President's Letter: Fill Summer Vacation with Fun Outdoor Recreation in the Forest Preserves of Cook County

The Forest Preserves of Cook County provide many benefits to residents. Native plants and animals can thrive in the nearly 70,000 acres of preserves, and our county’s air and water are cleaner because of these open lands. During summer, one of the very best benefits of the Forest Preserves is how each of us have a chance to fill our summer vacations with fun outdoor recreation.

Here are a couple ideas on how to enjoy the Forest Preserves this summer:

  • Pitch a tent or rent a cabin at one of the Forest Preserves’ five campgrounds. The sites are open seven days a week, and from Memorial Day through Labor Day, staff provide campfires and evening programs on Friday and Saturday nights, and Saturday afternoon activities and hikes. New to camping? The Forest Preserves offers various Camping 101 programs, and the campgrounds have gear rentals.
  • Cool off at one of the Forest Preserves’ three family aquatic centers. Visitors of all ages can relax and splash, or even take swim lessons.
  • Hit the links for a relaxing game of golf. The Forest Preserves are home to 10 beautiful golf courses. If you want to try something new, consider a game of disc golf at Rolling Knolls Forest Preserve.
  • Spend an afternoon fishing. Within the Forest Preserves, anglers of all ages will find more the 40 locations open to public fishing. Check out our fishing guide here.
  • Explore a nature center and enjoy fun, family-friendly events. Whether you’re looking for something educational or want to hear some live music, there are plenty of programs hosted throughout the Forest Preserves during summer.

In this issue, read about a multi-agency effort to restore critical wetland habitat at Eggers Grove. This south Chicago forest preserve is important for migrating marsh birds, but decades-old development has altered the site’s water levels. A new water control structure will allow the Forest Preserves to replicate the conditions of the local wetland system when it previously drained into nearby Wolf Lake.

Also in this issue is a recap from a recent public meeting outlining recommended improvements to the Des Plaines Trail—which is one of two Forest Preserves trails highlighted in a recent article in the Chicago Tribune on options for using public transportation to get out to nature.

We hope to see you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County