« All News

Press Release: New Restroom Facilities Offer Great Relief for Forest Preserves Visitors

Installation has begun on the first of ten new permanent toilet buildings for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The restroom at the Bremen Grove Forest Preserve in south suburban Oak Forest is expected to open in mid-November. The remaining nine facilities will be installed in spring 2014.

“We recognize that having access to clean bathrooms makes a huge difference to our visitors, especially families, and we are committed to meeting this need,” Forest Preserves of Cook County General Superintendent Arnold Randall said. “Over the next year, we will add new bathrooms around the county, particularly in widely used picnic groves that don’t currently have enough options.”

The new bathrooms at Bremen Grove are the first modern vault toilets in Cook County’s Forest Preserves. These non-flush toilets are widely used in other Forest Preserves as well as national and state parks and use the US Forest Service’s “Sweet Smelling” technology. A vault toilet will also be installed at the Maple Lake East site in the Palos Preserves next year. The two vault toilet facilities will be open year-round and will be serviced regularly by Forest Preserves staff.

The other eight restrooms will be secure, single-unit flush toilets. They will all be installed in popular picnic groves that currently have limited facilities. For example, Schiller Woods, the second most popular site for picnics in the Forest Preserves in 2012, has 13 picnic groves, but no permanent bathrooms. Schiller Woods will receive two of the pre-fab buildings next year. The new bathrooms will reduce the Forest Preserves’ need for portable restrooms at these sites.

“We’re committed not only to building these new restrooms, but to making sure they are clean and welcoming at all times for the millions of people who visit the Forest Preserves each year. To that end, our maintenance staff will continue to make caring for our restrooms a top priority, including shifting more resources to these efforts during busy summer weekends.” Randall said.

The full list of sites receiving new bathrooms is below.


  • Harms Woods (Morton Grove)
  • Barrington Road Pond (Hoffman Estates)
  • Schiller Woods (Schiller Park) (two units)
  • North Creek Meadow (Lynwood)
  • Carl Hansen Woods (Hanover)
  • Miller Meadow (Maywood)
  • Wampum Lake (Thornton)


  • Maple Lake East (Palos)
  • Bremen Grove (Oak Forest)

The Forest Preserves is also building new bathrooms at Swallow Cliff (Palos), Rolling Knolls (Elgin), and enhancing the public restrooms at the Dan Ryan Woods (Chicago.)


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.