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President's Letter: Take the Trail for Easy Access to Nature, Healthy Recreation

Trails are one of the most popular ways for visitors to experience the Forest Preserves of Cook County and they’re a great way to choose your own adventure in the Preserves. Our trails are a resource for kids learning to ride a bike, long distance runners, speed walkers, dog walkers, bird watchers, horseback riders, nature lovers and anyone else who wants to get away from it all for a while.

Our more than 350 miles of trails provide easy access to amazing natural areas and let you explore sun-dappled woodlands, open prairies, lush wetlands and other habitats. There are paved trails for easy walking and bike riding, unpaved trails that go deep into the wilderness and even single-track trails great for mountain biking and a more rugged hike.

Trails provide Cook County residents with an alternative method for transportation, too. Using the Forest Preserves’ robust trail systems, residents can commute to work or run errands in community business districts.

The Forest Preserves’ Recreation Master Plan is clear that trails are a highly rated recreational activity for the public. Understanding this, we have made significant investment in recent years in creating and expanding local and regional trail connections, improving trail systems, and working with municipal and other partners to increase trail offerings.

On July 17, we’ll be cutting the ribbon on the new pedestrian bridge funded by the Village of Rosemont and the State of Illinois that connects the Rosemont entertainment district to the Des Plaines Trail at Catherine Chevalier Woods. Later this month we’ll be at the Sand Ridge Campus in South Holland to celebrate many updated amenities, including the new Burnham Greenway Trail Spur. And just last summer we celebrated a newly paved trail spur connecting Hoffman Estates homes to the Poplar Creek Trail System.

We hope you’re one of the many residents and visitors who enjoy the Forest Preserves trail systems. And remember, with all those options for use, we ask that all users remember to practice good trail etiquette and safely share the trail: Ride or walk on the right side of the trail and stay single file whenever possible. Yield to other trail users. Travel at a safe speed.

For more information on Forest Preserves trails or to download a PDF trail maps, visit the Trails Page on the Forest Preserves’ website. A mobile friendly web map is also available at map.fpdcc.com.