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President's Letter: Summertime is Full of Outdoor Recreation Opportunities in the Forest Preserves

Later this month marks the official beginning of summer. Warmer weather is finally upon us, and there are many ways to enjoy the sunshine in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. With camping, a new rock-climbing wall and activity barn, swimming, night programming at six Nature Centers and more, the Forest Preserves are alive with summer activities for people of all ages.

The Forest Preserves recently celebrated the grand opening of the renovated historic Camp Sullivan barn, which has been transformed into a recreation spot for campers. Visitors can now enjoy a 28-foot-high indoor rock-climbing wall, suitable for almost every level of climber. Learn more about this new amenity in this month’s Forest Way, as well as other ways to enjoy a Cook County camping “staycation” in the Forest Preserves.

In addition to camping, Forest Preserves visitors can also take to our trails this summer. On Saturday, June 4, the Forest Preserves is celebrating National Trails Day and Share the Trail Day. Throughout the Forest Preserves, walkers, hikers, bikers and other trail users can traverse more than 300 miles of paved and unpaved trails. Share the Trail Day reminds users of trail safety and etiquette, as well as provides information on our volunteer program, Trail Watch.

Also in this month’s Forest Way, learn about the Forest Preserves’ American kestrel box program. The program aims to contribute information to a study on the decline of American kestrels, which is the United States’ smallest raptor. Several sites throughout the Preserves have been selected for boxes, and researchers will be collecting a variety of information.

Finally, don’t forget that the Bird the Preserves initiative continues through the end of the year. This month, Forest Way readers will learn about the June Bird of the Month, the great egret. And be sure to check out the Forest Preserves’ summer brochure. It is full of exciting events, programs, series and activities for residents and visitors to enjoy in the Forest Preserves all season long.

We hope to see you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County