The Forest Preserves of Cook County remain open, but specific locations have been closed that do not allow visitors to follow social distancing and other public health guidelines for COVID-19.
At a March 29 press conference at Dan Ryan Woods in Chicago, the Forest Preserves announced measures to limit crowded conditions at open locations, monitor any sites where visitors are not following social distancing guidelines, and add to the list of closures if necessary.
Forest Preserves staff and Trail Watch volunteers have been instructed to report any crowded conditions they see. Preserves leadership is processing information directly from the public, who are encouraged to call the Preserves non-emergency public safety number to provide real-time information: 708-771-1000.
"Each and every visitor to the Forest Preserves has new responsibilities in today's world to be safe and to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Cook County Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle ( who is also Cook County board president ). "The Forest Preserves has always offered us access to the natural world close to home and a place to be outside. But if we see places where people are not fully following their responsibility, we can and will close those locations."
To date, the Forest Preserves has closed its public buildings; all six Nature Centers, grounds, and trails; the Swallow Cliff stairs in the Palos Preserves; nature play areas; and all campgrounds. All public restrooms in the Preserves, both public and portable, are closed. Also, all public events, volunteer activities and permitted events through May 11 are cancelled, following CDC recommendations.