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Forest Preserves of Cook County rules and regulations are intended to keep people safe and protect natural and cultural resources. If you have a question about rules and regulations and cannot find an answer here, please . If you encounter someone violating Forest Preserves rules or regulations—especially if the activity is a threat to public safety or is harming plants or wildlife—we encourage you to contact the Forest Preserves Police Department at Always call in an emergency.

Learn more about our Trail Watch Volunteer program. Unless they possess a valid Illinois medical cannabis registry identification card or a similar form of patient identification from another state where medical cannabis is legal. The Municipal Code website displays all current ordinances and allows visitors to view changes to the Municipal Code over time. Forest preserves are open every day from sunrise to sunset. Check with nature centers , campgrounds and other facilities for specific hours. Check for closures before you go. Bathroom availability and type varies by location.

Indoor facilities like nature Centers and campgrounds have year-round, accessible indoor bathrooms. Some forest preserves have comfort stations indoor bathrooms open April through October. Others have portable bathrooms that may be open year-round or seasonally.

Some forest preserves do not have bathrooms at all. Check the specific location you wish to visit for information about bathrooms including accessibility information. Forest preserves are open every day from sunrise to sunset and our policy is to open every gate, every day of the year.

However, each gate must be opened manually by a Forest Preserves employee every morning—over gates a day. On some days, gates may not be opened by sunrise because of traffic or other issues beyond our control. Some locations may close temporarily because of weather conditions snow, ice, flooding , land management research, restoration, prescribed burns , construction projects or temporary public safety issues. During winter, parking lots are closed more often because of snow and ice. Parking lots are plowed with priority given to nature centers , campgrounds and locations with winter activities and gates are opened as soon as it is safe to allow vehicle access.

Current closures for individual locations are listed on individual location s and trail s on this website and on our web map. For a full list of closures, visit our closures . There is no fee to enter forest preserves or nature centers. Most of our events and programs are free, or charge a small fee. Other facilities charge fees for usage, including: Aquatic centers campgrounds, golf courses and picnic groves. For a full list of activities that require a fee or permit, visit our Permits .

The collection of mushrooms, plants, animals or any natural or cultural item is prohibited. With over 5 million residents in Cook County and an estimated 62 million visits to the Forest Preserves each year, allowing foraging or collecting—even through a permitting system—would not be ecologically or financially feasible. Please help us preserve these natural areas for the plants and animals that depend on them, and for future generations to enjoy. If you see someone foraging in the Forest Preserves, please call our police department at It depends, but most often the best answer is: Nothing.

Learn more about your options on our Wildlife in Distress . Turtles are especially visible in spring. Males are more active, seeking mates and moving between ponds. Females are looking for nesting sites to lay eggs. This means you may encounter turtles along roides, in yards or crossing paths and streets. As with all wildlife the best thing to do is to leave them alone—they may appear lost, but they usually know exactly what they are doing. Turtles have an uncanny sense of direction. If moved, they will try and try again to return to their original course.

Turtles moved off a pathway will turn around and cross it again if put on the wrong side. At times, turtles lay eggs in unusual locations like wood chip piles, in a freshly tilled garden bed, or even in a lawn. Even though it is tempting to help out and move them to a new location, those eggs rarely survive. It is best to leave them in place whenever possible. In a worst case scenario, those eggs can become needed food for other animals in the area. As a rule, the Forest Preserves does not take in injured turtles or eggs and does not deploy staff to relocate turtles or nests. If you believe you have found an injured turtle, learn more about your options on our Wildlife in Distress .

Both state and county law prohibit residents from abandoning pets or releasing nuisance animals outside. The Forest Preserves does not accept pets or wildlife at any of our locations. Learn more about the problems abandoned pets can cause in the Forest Preserves. To learn more about preventing problems with wildlife or removing a nuisance animal, visit the Wildlife Illinois website. And we have an answer! While dead trees may not be the most attractive part of a forest, they are essential to its health.

Learn more about the important role dead trees play in the Forest Preserves. There are some dead trees that need to be removed because they may create an unsafe situation. Our Resource Management staff regularly removes dead trees from near buildings, ro, parking lots and trails.

They have been especially active removing trees affected by the emerald ash borer. The collection of firewood, or any natural or cultural item , is prohibited. Dead trees and resulting fallen wood provide habitat for many plants and animals that call the Forest Preserves home. If you see someone feeding wildlife in the Forest Preserves, please call our police department at Ticks and mosquitoes are a natural part of the Forest Preserves and taking basic precautions can help minimize any potential harm they may cause.

Learn how to protect yourself on these s:. Class 1 and class 2 e-bikes , operated at speeds under 15 miles per hour, are allowed on all trails where bicycles are allowed, except single track mountain biking trails. Please use only official, marked trails. All bicycle riders are prohibited from riding off-trail or on unofficial trails. All other motorized vehicles are not allowed on trails, mowed areas and natural areas. Prohibited vehicles include, but are not limited, to: Class 3 e-bikes ; electrically powered scooters, unicycles and hoverboards; and gas-powered vehicles such as ATVs or motorcycles.

People with mobility limitations are allowed to use personal mobility devices. Metal detecting is prohibited. Even practiced responsibly, metal detecting disrupts soils and negatively impacts plants and animals. If you see someone using a metal detector or digging in the Forest Preserves, please call our police department at Launching any projectile in the Forest Preserves is prohibited.

This includes model rockets and all firearms —even Airsoft guns, BB guns or pellet guns. The Forest Preserves hosts archery events throughout the year. Because of public health and safety concerns, entering or swimming in any waterbody in the Forest Preserves is prohibited. You are welcome to explore deated waterbodies in an approved boat. Stand up paddle boards SUP are prohibited due to public health and safety concerns. The Forest Preserves conducted an SUP feasibility study and the indicated that the water quality in Forest Preserves waterbodies—which are all man-made—was not high enough for activities that involve a high likelihood of entering the water.

No, we leave our trails in natural winter conditions for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking and other seasonal activities. Plowing and salting can introduce saltwater runoff into our natural areas and hurt native plants and animals. Additionally, plowing equipment and salt damage trail surfaces, leading to costly and disruptive repairs in the spring and summer seasons. With these negative impacts and the resources that would be needed to attempt to clear over miles of trails across 70, acres, we do not believe plowing and salting trails is compatible with our mission.

All trail use involves risk. Please review our Trail Risk Statement. Artifacts are the things that past peoples made, changed, and left behind in places where they lived and worked. Commonly found artifacts include arrowhe, ceramics and historic bottles.

Artifacts are not souvenirs and taking them from public lands is illegal. Hours Forest preserves are open every day from sunrise to sunset. Dogs, with the exception of service animals, are prohibited from certain locations. View lists of approved and prohibited locations. Litter Littering is strictly prohibited—help keep our preserves clean.

Help combat littering by ing our Adopt-A-Site volunteer program. Smoking materials must be extinguished properly and may not be littered. Vehicles Motorized vehicles are not allowed on trails, mowed areas and natural areas. Vehicles must be parked in marked spaces. Vehicles may not be parked in preserves overnight. Alcohol Alcohol is not permitted within 50 feet of parking lots and roadways, and where otherwise posted.

Glass containers are not allowed. Some locations prohibit alcohol without a picnic or event permit. Learn more about Alcohol Free Sites. Cannabis Also known as marijuana, pot or weed. Cannabis consumption of any kind is prohibited in the Forest Preserves—this includes smoking or consuming cannabis flower, concentrates and infused products. Anyone caught consuming cannabis in the Forest Preserves will be cited and may be subject to administrative or criminal penalties. Anyone in violation of the Illinois recreational cannabis possession limits will be cited and may be subject to administrative or criminal penalties.

Plants and Wildlife Collection of plants and animals is strictly prohibited. This includes harvesting firewood; collecting mushrooms, wildflowers or other wild plants and their seeds; and otherwise removing or damaging any plants or trees.

Hunting is not allowed on any Forest Preserves of Cook County property. Visitors may not kill, injure or otherwise disturb any animals or their nests. Feeding of wildlife is strictly prohibited. Learn why feeding wildlife causes more harm than good. Firearms Firearms and other concealed weapons are not allowed on Forest Preserves of Cook County property, except by police officers or active-duty servicemen and women.

Archaeology, Salvage and Physical Property Any and all historic or prehistoric ruins found in the Forest Preserves are the property of the State of Illinois and may not be removed without consent. Patrons may not alter, deface, damage or otherwise change any monuments, either natural or manmade, within Forest Preserves of Cook County property. Waterbodies Entering any natural body of water in the Forest Preserves of Cook County is prohibited—unless in an approved boat or watercraft.

Swimming is encouraged at our three aquatic centers. Patrons may not post advertisements on Forest Preserves of Cook County property. Bicycle and horse riders are prohibited from riding off-trail or on unofficial trails. Off-trail and unofficial trail use—even by walkers and runners—damages plant and wildlife habitats. Stay to the right.

Ride or walk on the right side of the trail and stay single file whenever possible.

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