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COVID-19 Updates

July 31, 2020 01:46 PM

What's Open, Closed or Canceled

Though most forest preserves and trails remain open, several facilities are closed and all in-person education programs, volunteer projects, and special events have been canceled or modified in response to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. New preserve and trail use protocols and guidelines are also in place for the safety and health of our preserve visitors and employees, and the entire community. As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, we will continue to follow CDC guidelines, and work in close coordination with the Lake County Health Department and other local partners.  

Trails and Preserves

Preserves will remain open 6:30 am to sunset, daily, as long as visitors adhere to the 6-foot social distancing rule and other public safety and health guidelines. Ranger police continue to closely monitor preserve and trail usage to ensure safety rules, social distancing and other public health guidelines are being followed. 

We intend to keep most of the preserves and trails open during the state’s stay-at-home order, but that could change quickly if visitors don’t abide by safe social distancing rules by maintaining a 6-foot separation between people or family groups, and follow CDC recommended COVID-19 prevention strategies. 

Additional signs placed at trailheads remind preserve visitors to do their part and abide by rules put in place for safety reasons to prevent the spread of COVID-19. By following these rules, visitors can help keep the preserves open. However, if any specific location is no longer maintainable due to visitors not being compliant with Forest Preserve and CDC rules and guidelines, those preserves will be closed.

  • Bring your own alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60 percent alcohol) and face coverings.
  • When arriving, if you see the parking lot is full, use our interactive trail map to find another nearby preserve.
  • When in the parking lot, wait until the area near your car is clear of other nearby people before exiting or entering your car.
  • Follow social distancing rules at all times by staying 6 feet apart.
  • When on the trails, groups of two or more must break into single file and move to the right shoulder when approaching or passing others to allow for maximum physical distance.
  • Where dogs are allowed, keep them leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Do not leave pet waste on trails or in parking lots.
  • We encourage you to call 847-549-5200 if you spot anything you consider to be dangerous visitor behavior not in conformation to social distancing guidelines.
  • Thank you for being respectful of the health of your fellow preserve visitors.

Before Heading Out—Check These Maps

  • For preserve trail and underpass closures due to seasonal flooding and related trail repair projects, check this interactive map. Public access is restricted at closed trails and underpasses. Please follow signage, and use caution around closures, construction or detour zones.
  • If a parking lot is full, use this interactive trail map to find another nearby preserve. 

Facilities and Special Use Areas

  • The General Offices and Operations and Public Safety Facility are open for permit sales. Plexiglass has been installed for additional safety. Bring your own alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60 percent alcohol) and face coverings.
  • All other public buildings, visitor centers and drinking fountains are closed.
  • Youth group camping areas are closed.
  • Restrooms: 51 of 83 public restrooms in the forest preserves are open. Masks are required to be worn in restrooms where more than one toilet is present. Restrooms are cleaned daily. Bring your own alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60 percent alcohol) and face coverings. Follow CDC recommended COVID-19 prevention strategies. Before heading out, use this map to view which preserve restrooms are open.

Playgrounds

Those listed below are open. Capacity is limited to 50 people. Please follow social distancing guidelines, as well as DCEO and Illinois Department of Public Health guidance.

  • Wright Woods
  • Greenbelt
  • Heron Creek
  • Lakewood
  • Old School
  • Van Patten
  • Hastings Lake

Independence Grove and Half Day playgrounds remain closed at this time. 

Dog Exercise Areas

All five Dog Exercise Areas are open. Permit holders will be asked to follow these guidelines. Purchase annual or daily permits online »

Dunn Museum

A future reopening date is undetermined, and modifications may have to be made to permanent exhibitions to address public health concerns for visitors and staff.

Rentals and Special Use Permits

  • Picnic shelter rentals and open area reservations are canceled.
  • Banquet and facility rentals Greenbelt Cultural Center and ThunderHawk Golf Club are canceled for 2020.
  • Independence Grove rentals are available through Events at Independence Grove in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Greenbelt Cultural Center is currently booking events for 2021.  
  • Special use permits for third-party events held within forest preserves are canceled.
  • Staff will work with members of Stevenson Center for Democracy at the Adlai Stevenson Historic Home and the Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, both license holders of the buildings, to assist in following the state’s public health and safety guidelines.

Golfing

Boating, Marinas and Bike Rentals

  • Independence Grove Marina rentals for boats and bikes is closed for the summer season. 
  • Fox River Marina and public boat launch are open. Check here for details, hours and fees. All public buildings remain closed until further notice. Please follow CDC’s guidelines for safe social distancing and adhere to the state’s modified boating restrictions.
  • Des Plaines River canoe launches are open.
  • Boat launches are open at Van Patten Woods, Grant Woods and Hastings Lake for cartop boats, canoes, kayaks, or other small, non-motorized watercraft.

Swimming

The beach at Independence Grove is closed for the summer season.

Fishing

Permitted at many lakes and ponds in forest preserves throughout Lake County as long as safe social distancing is practiced. Learn more »

Summer Concerts

All summer concerts at Independence Grove and Greenbelt Cultural Center are canceled.

Education Programs and Events

All in-person nature and history education programs are canceled. Virtual programs are available. See calendar for details.

  • Science Explorers in Nature summer program will be offered virtually.
  • Conservation Explorers summer program is canceled.
  • Senior programs and USG-sponsored Thursday Night programs at the Dunn Museum will be conducted remotely through the rest of the year. 
  • Civil War Days in July is canceled.
  • Kids Nature Funfest in June is canceled.
  • OAKtober Celebration in October may be modified.
  • Halloween Hikes in October may be modified to adapt safety features.
  • Adlai Stevenson Historic Home programs and events are canceled.

Summer Camps

In-person summer camps running June 15–August 14 are canceled, and many have been replaced with virtual camps to offer a balanced learning experience for children ages 6–14. Fees and schedules have been modified, and auxiliary activities provide at-home learning along with an outdoor adventure component. Virtual registration for camps is available now.

School Field Trips

Educators are working on curriculum support for teachers. These resources help teachers with their classroom’s e-learning, supporting topics they had chosen as their field trips. History and nature virtual field trips are available, if interested in booking any of these virtual field trips below or learning more please email AskAnEducator@LCFPD.org. Each program is 30 minutes long. $30 for first classroom, $20 for additional classrooms. Learn more »

Volunteering

Restoration workdays and other volunteer activities and projects are canceled at this time. You can still submit a Volunteer Interest Form and a staff member will contact you when volunteer projects resume. 

Contact Us

For customer service questions related to rentals or permits, or for general information, please call 847-367-6640, email forestpreserves@LCFPD.org, or visit our Contact Us page.

Stay Connected

Bring the outside in by following the Lake County Forest Preserves (@LCFPD) on FacebookInstagramTwitter for inspiration.

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