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Special Use Permit

Special Use Permits are required for any event held within the forest preserves that extend beyond regular public use or may need special consideration. It is our intent to designate specific areas of the preserves, when possible, to groups or organizations whose size or type of event requires additional services. Examples include, large-scale runs or walks, events that collect fees or raise funds, commercial videography or photography.

Permit holders must follow rules of the Forest Preserves, safeguard the site’s integrity and ensure continued public access. A comprehensive procedure is in place for facilitating, approving, and reviewing events held on forest preserve property. At all times, it is the priority of the Forest Preserves to act as stewards of your public lands.

How do I apply for a permit?

Fill out the inquiry form or contact Julia Kreis by email at if preferred.

How much does a permit cost?

There is a $100 application fee for all Special Use Permits. The remaining fees are dependent on your group size, usage and time on preserve property.

Where can I request to use a special use permit?

Certain preserves are better for the event experience based on several factors like parking, bathrooms, residential areas or the surrounding ecosystems. We do not permit special uses at Fort Sheridan, Ryerson Conservation Area, and any Off-Leash Dog Areas.

What event activities are not permitted?

  • Altering or damaging the landscape (including ashes, smoke, color runs, etc.).
  • Limiting or restricting public access.
  • Causing disturbance to the public (concerts).
  • Using motorized vehicles on the trails.
  • Events taking place beyond designated trails.
  • Events with an inherit risk (cycling events, archery, swimming, etc.)

Will the Forest Preserve District promote my event?

We do not advertise private events. You can promote your event in advance but not on Forest Preserve property. Signage can be posted the day of the event on Forest Preserve property but must be removed by the end of the event.

Does the Forest Preserve District offer event coordination services?

We do not offer these services; we are happy to help guide you on what services or vendors are needed for events. It is your responsibility to scout the event space and plan event details.

What will I need when applying?

You will need to provide basic event information including; location, timing, guest count, vendors on site and event type. After applying, additional applicable forms will be required at least 30 days before the event date.

I am filming and taking photographs at a preserve—what permit do I need?

Filming for an advertisement or other commercial purposes must complete the special use inquiry form or contact Julia Kreis by email at

Professional photographers or videographers wishing to use the forest preserves as a setting to photograph families or weddings must be licensed with us for the current year. For more information, visit our Vendor Page.

What can I expect after submitting my application?

  • The $100 application fee is due.
  • Event coordinator creates a customized permit agreement and sends for approval.
  • When permit agreement is signed by all parties, the event is confirmed.
  • Site plans with event layout, vendor information and final payment is due one month before the event.
  • Provide a certificate of insurance (minimum $1,000,000 general liability) naming Lake County Forest Preserves as an additional insured. (1899 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville, IL 60048).
  • Paid vendors must be permitted through the Forest Preserves. The cost is $100 for a single use and $150 for annual use. Vendors can apply here.
  • Vendors donating their services must complete Addendum E, In-Kind Contributor Affidavit, provided by event coordinator.

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Special Use Permit Inquiry Form

Fill out the request form below to inquire about obtaining a Special Use Permit. If you are unable to fill out the form or would prefer to inquire over email, please contact Julia Kreis by email at