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Cook County forest preserve camping, picnic permits available Jan. 2

Friday, December 29, 2017
Chicago Tribune
by Steve Schering, Pioneer Press

Picnic and camping permits for the 2018 season at Cook County Forest Preserve District properties were to be made available to the public starting Tuesday.

According to forest preserve officials, permit sales will begin online and in person at 8 a.m. Jan. 2. Permits can be obtained in person at the Dan Ryan Visitor Center, 8700 S. Western Ave. in Chicago, and at the forest preserve headquarters at 536 N. Harlem Ave. in River Forest. Doors at both buildings will open at 7 a.m. that morning.

Those purchasing permits in person must have a valid state identification card or a driver's license. The district will accept cash, checks and Visa or Mastercard as forms of payment. Guests can obtain camping permits for all 2018 camping dates at the five forest preserve campgrounds, with the season taking place between April 1 and Dec. 31.

Campground information and camping reservations can be found online at or by phone at 855-937-2267.

Camping facilities are available at Camp Bullfrog Lake in Willow Springs, Camp Dan Beard in Northbrook, Camp Reinberg in Palatine, Camp Shabbona Woods in South Holland and Camp Sullivan in Oak Forest.

A picnic permit must be obtained by groups of 25 or more who use forest preserve property, officials said.

The most popular groves for picnics in 2016 were at the Dan Ryan Woods in Chicago, Schiller Woods in Chicago and Schiller Park, Bunker Hill in Chicago and Niles, and Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village, Rolling Meadows and Schaumburg.

According to officials, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County sold approximately 6,600 permits in 2017.

More information about 2018 permits, a list of locations and permit prices is available at

Permit requests for picnics and special events hosted in 2019 will go on sale Nov. 15, 2018.

Twitter @steveschering

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