Outdoor Recreation is Close to Home Experience the Preserves like never before with new campgrounds,
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Special to suffredin.org
With camping, a new rock-climbing wall and activity barn, swimming, night programming at six Nature Centers, a birding competition and more, the Forest Preserves of Cook County are alive with summer activities for area residents of all ages. The Forest Preserves of Cook County have everything area residents need to spend time outdoors and enjoy a summer “getaway” experience close to home:
·On May 24, Forest Preserves of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Commissioners, local elected officials and Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall celebrated the grand opening of the new Camp Sullivan Activity Barn in Oak Forest.
The historic barn has been transformed into a recreation spot and includes a
28-foot-high indoor rock-climbing wall, suitable for beginner and advanced climbers.
·On Saturday, June 4, overnight camping for large groups and organizations will be celebrated with a grand opening ceremony at Camp Dan Beard, one of five recently opened campgrounds in the Forest Preserves. Camp Dan Beard offers organized groups of up to 60 people the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in nature while spending the night under the stars during a tent camping excursion.
A Boy Scout staple for more than 50 years, Camp Dan Beard now features renovated rustic cabins perfect for group or family campers. The camp’s shelters and picnic sites are great for events, and programs and activities are hosted throughout the year.
Additional campsites throughout Cook County include Camp Bullfrog Lake in Willow Springs, Camp Reinberg in Palatine and Camp Sullivan in Oak Forest. For more information and to book your camping trip visit www.fpdcc.com/camping or 1-855-YES-CAMP
·On Saturday, June 25, the Forest Preserves will be celebrating the grand opening of the Swallow Cliff Pavilion and second set of stairs on the west side of the cliff. The stairs at Swallow Cliff have long been a popular exercise destination, and visitors will soon be able to complete a circuit. After a workout, visitors can stroll over to the new pavilion concession area to purchase a snack or smoothie from Good To Go Food.
·Early this summer, the Forest Preserves and Go Ape will be opening a tree-top adventure and zip line course at Bemis Woods. The course will be a seven-acre, two- to three-hour trek using rope ladders, Tarzan swings, five zip lines, and more than 40 other obstacles situated more than 40 feet in the air.
·Kids can play and swim, and families can relax all summer long at one of three aquatic centers. Along with their expertise, the new Forest Preserves aquatic center management team, Swim Chicago Southland, brings a swim school, aquatic fitness programs and water rehabilitation, as well as the expected 100,000 gallons of water fun. On Saturday, May 27, The Forest Preserves is offering free admission at all three Aquatic Centers.
·Recreational boating is available on ten of the Preserves’ lakes and rivers. Individuals and families can spend a day paddling, fishing and exploring the waterways of Cook County with their own boat or by renting a watercraft. Boats, canoes and kayaks can be rented at Busse Resevoir, Maple Lake, Tampier Lake and Skokie Lagoons.
·New this season, Nature Center visitors will have the opportunity to relax and unwind with family and friends while experiencing the Forest Preserves at night during evening programs. There will be a wide range of events and programs, including night hikes, astronomy and learning about the creatures that go bump in the night.
·The all-seasonBig Yearbirding competition continues – and in the Forest Preserves’ version, the Preserves compete to see which one has the most birds, and which team can engage the most new birders. The Big Year competition, along with ongoing Bird of the Month activities, are designed to help Cook County residents and visitors see some of each season’s most spectacular birds, and showcase the diversity of birds in the Preserves.
·Additional programs and activities hosted by the Forest Preserves are also listed in an online events calendar at www.fpdcc.com. Events can be searched by activity type, location and day of the week to best plan for summer schedules.
Following the Forest Preserves’ three-year Centennial Celebration, which concluded in 2015, the organization has been looking ahead to the next century by developing new ways to engage residents of Cook County. The new amenities and program offerings are part of the Forest Preserves’ commitment to enhancing nature education and recreational opportunities. Other recent enhancements include, expanding trails, and launching bike rentals with more to come.
Currently, the Forest Preserves manages nearly 70,000 acres of public open land, and offers numerous amenities including more than 300 miles of biking and hiking trails, nearly 300 picnic groves, model airplane flying fields and model boats areas, boat rentals and launches, snowmobile areas and groomed cross-country ski trails, as well as hundreds of low-cost or free educational programs and events.
To learn more about the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visit fpdcc.com. A complete listing of all events and programs is posted to the Forest Preserves’ events website at fpdcc.com/events, with seasonal brochures that can be downloaded.
About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Established in 1915, the Forest Preserves of Cook County is one of the oldest and largest forest preserve systems in the nation, maintaining nearly 70,000 acres of open land for the education, pleasure and recreation of the public. The agency strives to protect and restore the county's diverse ecosystems, so all our unique native plants and animals can live and thrive. Each year, millions of people use these lands and facilities to enjoy or study nature, bicycle, hike, fish, cross-country ski, picnic, golf, canoe, or simply relax in a large preserve that leaves urban life behind. For more information, visit fpdcc.com.
Rock Climbing: Camp Sullivan campers can now experience rock climbing inside the recently transformed historic barn. Camp Sullivan is located in Oak Forest, and is one of five Forest Preserves campgrounds.
Region 4_Whealan Pool_04: The Forest Preserves of Cook County offers three aquatic centers, which open Memorial Day weekend. Visitors can enjoy free admission at each location on Saturday, May 28.
Go Ape:The Forest Preserves of Cook County and Go Ape will be opening a seven-acre tree-top adventure and zip line course at Bemis Woods early this summer.
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