As we continue practicing social distancing, our State Parks and the Cook County Forest Preserve are an even more appreciated resource to help us stay active, get fresh air and enjoy the outdoors while safely physically distancing.
This week, the state and county have issued new guidelines for visiting Forest Preserves and state parks to ensure residents stay safe and healthy. Check out below for what you need to know before heading out for your next excursion.
Most importantly: you can enjoy the great outdoors, but wear a mask and stay six feet apart from your neighbors.
Forest Preserve Visitor Safety
During the COVID-19 crisis, many Forest Preserves sites remain open from sun-up to sundown s a resource for fresh air, exercise, and access to nature.
Check the list of closed locations to make sure the site you want to see is open for visitors.
Follow all visitor precautions to make sure your visit to Preserves or walk on the trail stay safe for everyone. Importantly, do not visit the Forest Preserves if you are sick and follow all CDC guidelines on hygiene before, during, and after your visit. Forest Preserves Police will issue citations to individuals showing a willful disregard for public health and safety rules
For our safety, all public restrooms (both indoor and portable), public drinking fountains, shelters, beaches, playgrounds, and picnic areas are closed, so plan your visit accordingly.
Carry out everything with you, especially used tissues, food wrappers, masks, and gloves.
You may now boat and fish, but boats are limited to two persons.
While many parking areas remain open, beginning Saturday, April 25, the Forest Preserve is instituting a weekend parking closure policy at six sites that have had issues with overcrowding or visitors consistently disregarding social distancing and other COVID-19 public health guidelines.
Illinois State Parks Re-Open
As of May 1, 2020, a limited number of Illinois State Parks will re-open.
Northwestern Illinois: Argyle Lake State Park, Jubilee College State Park, Lowden State Park, Morrison-Rockwood State Park, Rock Island Trail State Park, Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area
Northeastern Illinois: Chain o' Lakes State Park, Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail, Kankakee River State Park, Moraine Hills State Park, North Point Marina
East Central Illinois: Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, Eagle Creek State Park, Kickapoo State Park, Wolf Creek State Park
West Central Illinois: Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area, Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish, and Wildlife Area, Sangchris Lake State Park, Siloam Springs State Park, Washington County State Recreation Area
Southern Illinois: Fort Massac State Park, Giant City State Park, Stephen A Forbes State Recreation Area, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area