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Activities at your forest preserves


Dog Exercise Area

A permit allows you and your canine companions access to all four off-leash Dog Exercise Areas, open daily from 6:30 am until 7 pm or sunset, whichever is later.

Dog Area Permits

Annual permits are valid for the calendar year only, and are not prorated:

  • $44 for the first dog, $18 each additional, Lake County residents
  • $120 for the first dog, $56 each additional, nonresidents

On and after September 1, fees are reduced for annual permits, good through December 31:

  • $22 for the first dog, $9 each additional, Lake County residents
  • $60 for the first dog, $30 each additional, nonresidents

How to Purchase

Before you can purchase a permit, you'll need to show proof that your dog's rabies vaccine is up-to-date by providing the dog's current rabies tag number.

You'll also need the license plate number for each car you wish to register. Please note that the cars that are registered must reside at the address listed on the permit.

Daily Permits

A daily permit allows one day's access to all four Dog Exercise Areas. They can be purchased in advance online, or at self-pay stations located in the parking lot at each site for spur-of-the-moment visits. Fill out the specified form, drop a copy with your payment in the box and attach the completed permit to your vehicle's rear view mirror. Exact cash or check required. 

  • $5 per dog, Lake County residents
  • $10 per dog, nonresidents

Rules, Regulations & Restrictions

For everyone's safety and enjoyment, please:

  1. Permit and dog are required for entry. Use at your own risk. Display vehicle sticker on your car's windshield below the tinted area. Stickers are not transferable.
  2. Park in lots only. Loitering in lots is prohibited. Vehicles left after closing will be towed at owner’s expense.
  3. Keep your dog leashed while in parking lots, walkways and unfenced areas. Close the fence gate behind you after entering the area.
  4. No more than three dogs per person are allowed during any one visit.
  5. Approved canine activities include swimming, dog exercise, retrieving, tracking, pointing and obedience training.
  6. Alcoholic beverages, food, dog toys, treats, chews and rawhide are not permitted. 
  7. Horses, cats, other pets, game animals or birds are not permitted. 
  8. Bikes, boats, swimming, fishing, ice fishing, snowmobiles, camping, fires, collecting, hunting, firearms, releasing animals or non-native plant species, and off-road or motorized vehicles are not permitted.
  9. Children must be accompanied by an adult and are expected to behave appropriately. Do not run or chase after dogs, and never attempt to pet other dogs unless permission is granted by that dog's owner.
  10. You must remain in the Dog Area with your dog and closely supervise your dog at all times. You are solely responsible for controlling your dog. You must maintain visual contact and voice control of your dog. If aggressive behavior is observed, you must leash your dog and remove it from the area. You are responsible for any injury or damage to other dogs or the public caused by your dog. 
  11. Clean up after your dog. Bags provided. Deposit bags and all other litter in proper receptacles. Failure to pick up after your dog could result in a $75 fine.
  12. Violation of rules, regulations or restrictions may result in a fine and/or suspension of permit use.

For your dog's health and safety:

  1. Dogs must be at least four months old to visit.
  2. Dogs must have a current rabies vaccination tag and number, as required by state law. If your dog's vaccination is not current, please call your vet. Consult with your vet regarding other recommended vaccinations or preventives.
  3. Leave sick dogs home. They are not allowed in the area when ill.
  4. Determine if it's wise for your small dog or puppy to be off-leash with larger dogs.
  5. Show your dog you care by asking your vet about visiting here: 
    • Learn about potential health issues, prevention, symptoms and treatment. 
    • Make sure your dog is healthy and properly vaccinated against parvovirus and other diseases. 
    • The soil throughout the eastern United States may contain spores that can cause blastomycosis. Chances are small that a dog will inhale them, but knowing symptoms gives time for treatment.

Ordinance violations and fineable offenses:

  1. Clean up after your dog. Bags provided. Deposit bags and all other litter in proper receptacles.
  2. Control your dog and maintain visual contact and voice control at all times.
  3. You are responsible for any injury or damage to other dogs or to the public caused by your dog.

For assistance or to report a problem:

  • For emergencies call 911.
  • For nonemergencies, violation of rules, or aggressive behavior of another dog or owner, call 847-549-5200 and ask to speak to a Ranger.
  • You can also contact our Public Safety Office at 847-968-3411, weekdays from 6:30 am to 3 pm.

Permit Registration

AcrobatDownload Dog Exercise Area Permit Application
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Guide Information

AcrobatDownload Guide to the Dog Exercise Areas
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AcrobatDownload Road Construction Project at Lakewood
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Purchase Mutt-Mitts

You can purchase effective dog waste pickup bags via this link.

Rules and Regulations

All activities on District property are subject to the Lake County Forest Preserve Rules and Regulations.

Newly-paved lot at Lakewood Dog Exercise Area

Special Announcements

Trail mowing and major maintenance projects at each dog area take place on two scheduled days each month from the beginning of April through October. Opening on those mornings at 11 am instead of 6:30 am will allow you to avoid visiting when mowers and other equipment are being used, reducing any potential safety issues for people and their dogs.

Duck Farm and Prairie Wolf dog areas open late on the first and third Wednesdays of each month.

Independence Grove and Lakewood dog areas open late on the first and third Thursdays of each month.


Dog Exercise Area Locations

Duck Farm
Duck Farm Dog Exercise Area
Independence Grove Dog Exercise Area
Lakewood Dog Exercise Area
Prairie Wolf Dog Exercise Area