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President's Letter: New Amenities Mean New Ways To Experience the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Within the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s nearly 70,000 acres, residents can enjoy a multitude of activities. From outdoor recreation and healthy living, volunteer opportunities to environmental education, the Forest Preserves has something for everyone.

Our visitors can hop on a bicycle and explore miles and miles of trails that weave along rivers and through diverse habitats. They can book a night at one of five campgrounds and sleep under stars to the relaxing sounds of nature. And with six Nature Centers, discovering the native plants, animals and ecosystems of Cook County is easy and fun.

With our first 100 years behind us, the Forest Preserves has been looking at how we can best continue to connect the residents of Cook County with the incredible nature that’s available so close to home.

In this issue of the Forest Way, you’ll learn about one of our newest (and most adventurous) attractions – a zip line and treetop adventure course. Working with Go Ape, the Forest Preserves now offers visitors of Bemis Woods in Western Springs a way to experience the Forest Preserves from new heights — literally. Situated 40 feet up in the forest canopy are numerous obstacles, Tarzan swings and zip lines. Be sure to check it out.

Also in this month’s newsletter is a story on recent enhancements made at one of the most popular destinations in the Forest Preserves – Swallow Cliff Woods. People throughout the County have long traveled to Swallow Cliff to ascend the 125-step stair set. Now visitors can experience a full circuit using two sets of stairs, and finish their workout with a delicious and healthy snack from the pavilion’s Swallow Cliff Café.

Finally, be sure to check out the photos of recently spotted animals found throughout the Forest Preserves. Thriving wildlife is often an excellent sign of an improving environment, due in part to the countless hours of conservation and restoration efforts logged by volunteers, contractors and employees of the Forest Preserves. Consider joining those efforts by checking out volunteer opportunities on our Volunteer Page.

We hope to see you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County