Follow Guidelines or Risk Preserves Closing
April 1, 2020 09:10 AM
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 other public health guidelines, said Ty Kovach, Lake County Forest Preserves Executive Director.
The majority of forest preserve trails remain accessible though all public buildings, restrooms, playgrounds, visitor centers and dog exercise areas are closed. All educational programming and permitted events have been canceled through the end of April. All picnic shelter and open area reservations and special use permits were canceled and future requests will not be accepted through the month of April.
“Forest Preserve staff and police are keeping a close eye on the preserves to make sure people aren’t gathering in non-family groups, and that they are respecting the 6-foot social distancing rule while visiting the preserves,” said Chief Operations Officer Mike Tully. “By following these rules, visitors can help keep the preserves open. But if and when we see that any specific location is no longer maintainable due to the behavior of visitors, we will close those preserves," Tully said. "At preserves where people are not compliant with Forest Preserve and CDC rules and guidelines, we will be forced to close down.”
“We understand that being outdoors and in your forest preserves provide valuable fitness and mental health benefits during this time. However, visitor safety is always our No. 1 priority,” said Angelo Kyle, Lake County Forest Preserves President. “We urge preserve visitors to use extreme caution and to follow all CDC guidelines for practicing safe social distancing by keeping 6 feet between people or family groups at all times.”
The public is encouraged to call — 847-549-5200 — if they spot anything they consider to be dangerous visitor behavior not in conformation to social distancing guidelines. Kovach said he is ready to close preserves quickly if they seem to be a problem and crowds become unmanageable. There should be no group walks except for immediate family members, Kovach said. Visitors should wash their hands before and after visits and use their home bathroom as all preserve restrooms are closed.
Ty Kovach, Executive Director, akovach@LCFPD.org, 847-968-3338
Kim Mikus, Communications Specialist, kmikuscroke@LCFPD.org, 847-968-3202