• Dog Parks

    We offer four uniquely different outdoor parks where dogs can exercise, play, swim and socialize off-leash. An annual or daily permit and a dog are required for entry. Reduced rates are offered annually, beginning September 1. A vehicle sticker is issued with each permit. Replacement stickers may also be purchased.

    Annual permit––allows access to all four Dog Parks. Annual permits are valid for the calendar year only, and are not prorated.

    Daily permit––allows one day's access to all four Dog Parks. Purchase online now, or at self-pay stations located in the parking lot of each site for spur-of-the-moment visits.

    Gift Certificates

    Give that special dog in your life the perfect treat. To purchase, call or visit our General Offices in Libertyville, 847-367-6640, 8 am–4:30 pm, weekdays, or our Operations and Public Safety Facility in Lake Villa, 847-968-3411, 6:30 am–3 pm, weekdays.

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    Dog Sled Area

    Grab your sled or tow line and head for our Dog Sled Area in Waukegan. Wide-tracked loop trails are designed for mushing, competitive dog sledding and skijoring, where a skier is pulled over snow by dogs. An annual permit is required.

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    Horse Trail Use

    More than 69 miles of trails are open to horseback riding. An annual or daily permit is required to ride horses on forest preserve trails. A horse tag is issued with each permit. Replacement tags may also be purchased online.

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    Horse-drawn Vehicle Trails

    Privately-owned horse-drawn carts, gigs and sleighs are permitted on roughly 3 miles of mowed grass trails at the Dog Sled Area in Waukegan. An annual permit is required.

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    Model Aircraft Flying Field

    Our field at Van Patten Woods in Wadsworth offers flying space up to 373 feet wide by 560 feet long. An annual permit and a current Academy of Model Aeronautics license are required for entry.

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    Picnic Shelters

    Our picnic shelters and open picnic areas are popular locations for baptisms, family reunions, wedding receptions, company picnics and other special events. Descriptions and fees »

    Shelter permit––required for exclusive use of a picnic shelter, regardless of group size.

    Open area permit––available at most preserves on a first-come, first-served basis for up to 50 people. Open areas are not reservable, however, a permit is required for groups of 25 to 50 people. Permits/fees are not required for groups under 25. For most preserves, open area permits can be obtained from a Ranger if present on site, or by calling 847-549-5200 and asking to speak to a Ranger. For open areas at Independence Grove, permits can be purchased at the Visitors Center.

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    Special Activities & Licensed Vendor Permits

    Any vendors hired by the permit holder to provide special activities allowed at a shelter, such as catering, entertainment, pony rides, face painting, inflatable rentals, and other services associated with picnics and events in our preserves, must be licensed with us for the current year.

    Categories include food vendor (annual or one-time), commercial portrait photography (annual or one-time), beer truck, band or DJ services, tents, portable toilets or wash stations, and non-music live entertainment.

    Commercial portrait photography permits do not apply to exclusive use areas at Independence Grove (Millennium Plaza, Native Garden, North Bay Pavilion). Permits for these areas can be obtained at the Visitors Center.

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